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Page last updated at 20:41 GMT, Sunday, 18 April 2010 21:41 UK

Livingston set sights on Division One

Gary Bollan celebrates with his Livingston team
Bollan's side clinched the title with a 0-0 draw with Berwick Rangers

Livingston manager Gary Bollan has set his sights on a return to the First Division after his side at last clinched the Division Three title.

A 0-0 draw at home to Berwick Rangers ensured a quick promotion for the club demoted to the bottom rung for entering administration last season.

"When we were put to the Third, to get back to where we were in the First is two rungs of the ladder," he said.

"We're up the first one now and we'll do all we can to get up the next one."

Runaway long-time leaders Livingston's title party had been delayed by a 3-2 defeat at home to second-top Forfar Athletic last weekend then a midweek 1-1 draw away to Berwick.

"We've stumbled across the line, but we have got there," said Bollan.

It just happened that I popped up and made the save that won the league, but the team as a whole have won 33 games and, for a lot of those games, I have been redundant

Livingston goalkeeper Roddy McKenzie

"I think it was important to bounce back. To be fair to the chairman and the board of directors, there was never any pressure put upon us to be promoted at the first attempt.

"But, to do so, we are absolutely delighted, because we are now setting the club on the right track to be back where they should be."

Bollan was angered that some Third Division clubs had complained that demoting a club with full-time players into a league with part-time rivals was unfair.

"You hear other people saying it is not a level playing field, but we were all disappointed at the start of the season to be be put where we were.

"We've won the majority of games this season, but I feel the players in there have not been given the credit and they will still not be given the credit they are due for winning the league because other people will say they expect so.

"But you have 36 games over a course of the season and you have to go win them and that's difficult because we are playing teams who are upping their game.

"I'm delighted for the group of players I've got because over the season they have been absolutely terrific."

Bollan recognises that Livingston will probably again be favourites for promotion in Division Two.

"It will be difficult next season, as it has this year," he said. "Being in the Third Division, we had no divine right to win games.

"I don't think it will bring any increased pressure, because we have gone in here week in, week out as overwhelming favourites in the Third Division and, come the Second, it might be much the same, but I have a squad in there who have taken the pressure in their stride and done the job we set them to do."

Bollan's side had a last-minute penalty save from goalkeeper Roddy McKenzie to thank for not missing another chance to wrap up the title.

"I knew Stuart Callaghan was going to take it," said Bollan. "He has a great left foot and I said to myself he was going to score.

"But lads on the bench said Roddy has a great record with penalties and it proved to be so. It was a good save and it was a crucial one."

McKenzie was happy to play his part but paid tribute to the rest of the squad.

"I know Stuart from Hearts," said the 34-year-old. "For years, we played together.

"I had a feeling he would always go that side. It just happened that I popped up and made the save that won the league, but the team as a whole have won 33 games and, for a lot of those games, I have been redundant."

McKenzie, who is in his second spell at Almondvale, was delighted to welcome happier days at the West Lothian club.

"It is a great achievement for any team to win the league," he said. "You can only win what is put in front of you and the last couple of weeks have been difficult.

"It is great for the club. I love this place and it's brilliant for them.

"Everybody knows what has happened in the last couple of years - a lot of emotional stuff, on and off the park, and guys lives being messed around.

"We could have been in the First Division this year, we could have got a points reduction and could have been going into the Second Division on a negative, but now we are going into the Second Division on a positive.

"We have a lot of good young players and a lot of experience too. We will be going into the Second Division hoping to win that too as we have a few players who could be playing at a higher level."



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see also
Livingston 0-0 Berwick Rangers
17 Apr 10 |  Scottish League


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