Scott Pittman had anticipated strutting his stuff in front of a big crowd tomorrow – but he expected it to be nearer 900 than 9000!
While his former Bo’ness United team-mates make the trip to Ayrshire for a Scottish Junior Cup clash with holders Hurlford United, Pittman is ready to try and shackle Championship leaders Hearts in front of a near-capacity Energy Assets Arena after putting pen to paper with Livingston this week on an 18-month contract.
The prospect of coming face to face with Robbie Neilson’s squad and the travelling away support that goes with it is one he admits he is still trying to get his head around.
“It’s quite a big jump for me,” the 22-year-old midfielder agreed. “I’m used to playing in front of a couple of hundred at Junior level so this is going to be quite different with the stadium being packed. Hurlford would have always been a really hard game but it’s going to be so much harder tomorrow against Hearts. I’ve seen a little bit of them this season and watched them on TV last weekend against Alloa so they are a strong side who are flying at the top of the league. Those guys are used to playing in the top flight and are experienced players so it’s a big change for me.”
Bo’ness manager Allan McGonigal last week described Pittman as the “best player in Junior football” and was convinced he’ll be a real coup for the Championship’s bottom side. Released by Hamilton Accies five years ago, former Broxburn Athletic player Pittman admits he had retained some hope that the opportunity to sign another professional deal would present itself once again.
“It’s always on your mind wondering if the chance will come again and there has always been teams sniffing about me,” Pittman said. “But I didn’t think I’d go straight into a full-time club so I was a bit surprised by it all. It’s obviously a big step up for me but it’s a chance you’ve got to take when it comes your way.
“The guys at Bo’ness wished me all the best and the manager has told me to go and show what I can do. I’m confident in what I can do and the club haven’t put too much presssure on me.”
Pittman was an unused substitute in Livi’s 0-0 stalemate with relegation rivals Alloa on Tuesday evening, a match he feels they did enough to win given the chances they created.
“We knew it was going to be a tight game and we were hoping for a better result,” Pittman said. “The manager [Mark Burchill] was a little bit disappointed with the performance even though we had chances to win the game. But, from what I’ve seen already, there’s definitely enough quality for us to stay up. The training has been a bit different and the levels of fitness around the squad is noticeable. But it’s a chance for me to improve myself and I think I can only get better.”
Burchill himself is relishing the visit of the Tynecastle outfit.
He said: “It’s easy for the players to play against Hearts as there are no expectations. They are undoubtedly the best team in this division so I’m sure the guys will be up for it. We put out a great performance the last time they were here and were unlucky to lose 1-0 so we’re looking at every game thinking we can get points out of it.”