John McGlynn: I enjoyed it at Livi - but not losing

John McGlynn
John McGlynn
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John McGlynn may have encountered more than a few emotional goodbyes as he made his way out the main doors at the Energy Assets Arena yesterday, his 15-month reign in West Lothian brought to an abrupt but, not entirely, unexpected end.

It’s not in the 52-year-old’s nature, however, to sit around and ponder what might have been. He didn’t afford himself the time to reflect when he was axed by Hearts less than three weeks prior to the League Cup final encounter with St Mirren last February and he’s darned if he’s going to sit tight now.

“I am looking to get back in as quickly as possible,” he stressed only a couple of hours after informing his playing staff of the mutual decision he and the board of directors at the club had reached. “I believe I can be a manager, but I also believe I could be an assistant or a first team or reserve coach. A lot of my time has been spent with youths so I still have a lot to give.”

McGlynn’s tenure with the Lions this season has been blighted by a five-point deduction imposed on the club by the SPFL for defaulting on tax obligations, not to mention the ongoing saga between former chief exectuive Ged Nixon and majority shareholder Neil Rankine, with the former suing the Championship outfit for a figure believed to be in the region of £264,000.

On the pitch, Livi are nine points worse off than they were at this stage last season – factoring in their points infringement – and remain four points adrift of Cowdenbeath at the foot of the Championship after Saturday’s narrow loss to Falkirk, their tenth league defeat of the campaign so far.

However, the club’s form in this season’s Petrofac Training Cup has been exemplary, a 4-1 win over Championship leaders Hearts in August the pinnacle en route to sealing their spot in April’s final against Championship rivals Alloa.

Nevertheless, McGlynn won’t be there to see the job through.

“I believe the players that are there can remain in this league,” he said in an exclusive interview with the Evening News. “They’ve also got a great chance to lift the Petrofac [Training] Cup and no-one will be happier than myself if they do – I can take some satisfaction that the players I signed managed to do that.”

Asked if it is his intention to see the game first-hand, he said: “I went to the cup final at Hampden when Hearts played St Mirren, but it’s too early to call having just left the club. I would hope so, though.”

Despite all the off-field controversies that have burdened the Lions for the majority of this season, McGlynn was adamant he was keen to see the job through and never harboured any intentions of walking away.

“I’ve said before it would have been nice to have done without all the off-field stuff and certainly we could have done without the points deduction,” he maintained. “We’ve played a number of games now, but we’ve not won enough. If we’d be winning more football matches then we wouldn’t be in this situation now. I was certainly up for the fight, though, to try and keep the club in the league by getting above Cowdenbeath, and Alloa, or whether it be any of the other teams, but it’s not to be.

“Obviously, everyone can see the results haven’t been what we all want. You don’t have to be brain of Britain to know when you’re not getting results that you’re going to come under a wee bit pressure. It wasn’t me that instigated this decision and as I said, was up for the fight.”

McGlynn confirmed a mutual decision was reached to end his association with the club on Monday, but made the selfless decision to explain the immediate future to his own personnel at the stadium the following day.

“I made sure no-one found out on Monday until I’d spoken to the players yesterday morning and I was pleased it managed to keep quiet overnight,” McGlynn insisted. “The right thing to do was to tell them first and that’s what I have done.

“Simon Mensing and Mark Burchill were very nice with their comments so that was good to hear, but it’s about moving on now. There is hassle and challenges in all jobs in football management and I appreciate a lot of clubs are struggling financially, but maybe I’m looking to get half a chance without too much off-field distractions. I don’t want to make a big deal of it or make excuses but when it comes to looking forward, it would be nice to get a job where the focus isn’t just on off-field matters because there was a lot going on at Hearts as well when I was there.

“I’ve enjoyed working with the players here, but just like any football manager, I haven’t enjoyed losing and that goes for everyone from the players, the fans and the directors.

“It was definitely amicable the agreement, there’s no bitterness as it’s not in my nature. There’s no animosity there so it just seemed to be the best option for the club moving on.

“I have enjoyed working at Livingston and I’ve had a big impact with them with Coll Donaldson going to QPR, while Stefan Scougall went to Sheffield United, as did Marc McNulty. We’re also still bringing the younger players through so that’s always been part of my philosophy.

“There are players there just now like Danny Mullen and Shaun Rutherford, who are in the same boat this season so that’s always nice to see as you want to see them make a name for themselves in the game.”

Player/assistant manager Mark Burchill has now been tasked with the small matter of rallying his troops for this weekend’s trip to Ibrox before the daunting visit of Hearts to West Lothian the following weekend. McGlynn, though, has every faith in his former right-hand man.

“I’ve been working with Mark for the past 15 months and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. He’s worked under a number of managers over the years – he’s played at many clubs, been abroad and will have picked up a lot of his own ideas.

“I wish him all the success in the world as he’s a good guy who knows the game so, hopefully, he can turn the club’s fortunes around.”