John Hughes: Livingston did not let Kenny Miller sign who he wanted

Kenny Miller
Kenny Miller
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Former Livingston manager John Hughes believes the club did not give Kenny Miller the autonomy needed to recruit his own players and coaches.

Player-manager Miller parted company with the West Lothian side on Sunday and Hughes feels Livingston’s statement on his exit is a cover story.

Miller was appointed by Livingston in June and the club stated he left after they asked him to stop playing and work only as manager. The 38-year-old wants to prolong his on-field career, but Hughes suspects there is more to the story.

“I’ve been working with Kenny over the last couple of weeks doing some work with BBC radio,” he said. “I got the text on Sunday night that he’d parted company with Livingston and then I read the statement, and I think the statement is just to cover all bases to tell you the truth - I don’t think that’s true to the matter that Kenny wanted to move on to keep on playing.

“When you’re Livingston, you’ve come up to the Premiership and you have a quality player like Kenny Miller on the pitch. He has the attitude and application – then you want to use that. I think that’s a cover story, I think the frustrations of Kenny was in terms of recruitment, not just players, and maybe another coach.”

Miller’s relationship with assistant manager, David Martindale, has been scrutinised.

“All credit to the boy Martindale, if he is putting his money in then it’s his club. I think there has been a bit of friction and it’s come to a head,” said Hughes, who mangaged Livingston in 2012.

“Kenny was loving it, although he was finding it very difficult mentally in terms of preparing training sessions, watching games and all that stuff and that’s when coaches come in. Your coach, the one you trust, comes in and he takes all that off you.

“Livingston have had great success and it’s set in stone so Kenny has come from outside in and they’ve probably locked horns. I don’t think the statement is true, I think there has been a break down in terms of working together.

“The reason I’m saying that about the statement is: What’s changed in the time since his interview? What he can bring you on the pitch, you want that. I think what’s happened is that his hands have been tied and he’s not been allowed to bring in that confidante, that coach who he trusts and believes and he can bounce off of.

“I’m only surmising here but I think that’s the nuts and bolts of it. Plus, before Kenny got the job, I think Livingston signed four or five players. That should be on hold until the new manager comes in.

“If you’re manager of a football club, your head is on the block. Any football decisions that need made, you make them. As soon as other people start making decisions that get in the way of your vision, then you’re going to part ways and I think that’s what happened.”

Hughes backed Miller to get himself another playing contract and, in time, another managerial job in Scotland.

“I think Scottish football needs Kenny Miller. I think we need all these young guys coming through. I think Kenny’s walked out because of his values.

“I’m sad for both Kenny and Livingston but I’ll say this to the powers that be at Livingston: You need to let the manager manage – that’s why you employ him.”