McKenna sure Livi will move back up the table

Michael McKenna. Picture: Scott Louden
Michael McKenna. Picture: Scott Louden
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Michael McKenna has seen it all in his debut season as a professional with Livingston.

The former Musselburgh Athletic winger could not have envisaged both the highs and lows thrust his way since making the switch from Olivebank in the summer.

Nevertheless, the 23-year-old is determined to make the most of an opportunity he thought would never come his way.

After the jubilation of being named in John McGlynn’s starting line-up for the Championship curtain-raiser against Hibs, not to mention a Petrofac Cup final with Alloa in April to get their teeth stuck into, McKenna, similarly to his team-mates, have had to contend with the West Lothian side’s boardroom debacles.

After incurring a five-point deduction for defaulting on tax payments last month, a retribution that sent Livingston plummeting to the foot of the Championship, there has been further suggestions this week of administration being attributed the club’s way.

However, McKenna is adamant this group can come through such adversity and remain a Championship club come the start of next season.

“We’ve had everything this season so far and we’re not even halfway through,” the midfielder said. “Making the cup final has been brilliant but we’ve just got to put that to the back of our minds just now. The off-field stuff, there’s nothing we can do about it. It’s got nothing to do with the set of players that are here now.

“With the teams in the league this year, it’s really difficult so having a five-point deduction makes it even harder. It would be a great achievement for every player if we were to stay up – there’s no getting away from that. We are all confident that we will, there’s nobody worried as we’ve got over 20 matches to go and points to play for. It’s in our own hands to do the job. We’ve still got to play the teams above us twice, so there are no excuses.”

Last weekend’s emphatic win over Raith Rovers in Fife not only reduced second-bottom Cowdenbeath’s safety net to four points, McKenna notched his first goal in Livingston colours with a composed finish for the Lions’ fifth goal of the afternoon. “It was great to score,” he admitted. “I’ve always wondered what it would be like to score a senior goal so it was a great feeling even though it was 4-1 at the time. It’s taken the weight off my shoulders so I want to kick on now and get another few.

“I wouldn’t have actually minded Rob [Ogleby] getting the goal as he needs one too, but I anticipated it coming after the ball broke off him so I was just in the right place at the right time.

“I don’t know what the team is going to be tomorrow, if I start or if I’m going to be a sub, but now that I’ve got one I feel a lot more confident.

“The first five or six games I started off well, but my form definitely dipped. At this level you all need to be playing well together to win games so I think there has been a few of us off form.

“We were actually really confident we’d win going into last week’s game but we would have taken a 1-0 as we knew it would be a battle. The sending off [Raith’s Ross Perry] that early has obviously changed the game in our favour but we’ll take that bit of luck as we haven’t had much recently.”

With a buoyant Falkirk side due at the Energy Assets Arena tomorrow, McKenna is desperate for another three points that could cut the gap at the bottom to just one depending on the outcome of Hearts’ trip across the Forth to Cowdenbeath.

McKenna added: “Falkirk are a good side but we need to win. It’s a must win game for us. With Rangers away the following week we’re not expected to win and then Hearts at home to come, who are unbeaten, so if we can get three points tomorrow then there will be less pressure on us.”