Livingston manager David Hopkin says he expects to have a clearer picture later today over whether he’ll be given the opportunity to lead the Lions’ bid to return to the Championship next season.
The West Lothian club were relegated to Scottish football’s third tier on Saturday after a pulsating battle with Stranraer, Livi eventually succumbing to a 8-6 aggregate defeat after extra time in their relegation play-off semi-final. Hopkin’s men had successfully clawed back last Wednesday’s 5-2 first-leg deficit with a 4-1 win to take the tie into an additional 30 minutes at the Tony Macaroni Arena.
However, two extra-time goals from Stranraer’s Liam Dick and Jamie Longworth consigned the Lions to League One football next season.
Now former Scotland internationalist Hopkin, who was appointed manager after predecessor Mark Burchill was sacked in December, will meet with the club’s board of directors to discuss his future.
“There will be discussions today with the board so we’ll see what happens,” the Lions boss said. “I’m positive enough to know though that we’ve improved since I came in in January. The age of the group has come down and everything we’ve done from GPS to urine sample tests, ice baths, massages – everything as been as professional as it can be.
“The tie was lost last Wednesday. To come back from a 5-2 deficit in any game of football is very difficult but fair play to the team, they got it back to 4-1. I knew Stranraer were going to come and waste time and I think they did that from the first minute.
“We’ve not been relegated on Saturday, it’s been over a full season. I took over in January and I think since I’ve been I’ve improved the squad. We need to regroup over the summer.”
Goals from Liam Buchanan and Jordan White had given Livi a deserved 2-0 lead at the break but former Hibs midfielder Paul Cairney’s audacious lob on 62 minutes completely disrupted the home side’s momentum. However, a Danny Mullen strike in the last minute of normal time paved the way for a grandstand finish before Craig Halkett’s strike from the edge of the area in the third minute of stoppage time squared the tie up.
However, both Dick and Longworth secured their side’s passage through to the Championship play-off final where they will meet Ayr United.
Livingston: McCallum, Halkett, Neill, Cole (Mullen 71), Kakay, Pittman, Fotheringham, Stanton, Telfer (Sheerin 78), White, Buchanan. Subs: Jamieson, Knox, Mullin, Currie.
Stranraer: Belford, Robertson, Pettigrew, Bell, Dick, Cairney, Stirling (Kemp 88), Thomson, Gibson, Malcolm (Barron 59), McGuigan (Longworth 73). Subs: Currie, McCloskey, Turner, Rumsby.
Referee: Craig Thomson.