August 19, 2022

A match-winning debut

New signings sometimes have to bide their time before making their debut, but most probably haven’t had to wait for six years to make their first appearance.

Six years he had been waiting to make his debut

For Livingston goalkeeper Gary Maley that was the case and on the final day of their cinch Premiership campaign against already-relegated Dundee, Livi boss David Martindale decided to give him a run out.

At the age of 39 years and 285 days, Maley was given the final 15 minutes in-between the sticks and became a record holder by becoming the oldest player to have played in the Scottish top flight since 1998.

His introduction was worthwhile too as the home side held on for the win at the Tony Macaroni Arena after goals from Andrew Shinnie and Alan Forrest helped them come from behind to win 2-1.

Maley is one of several players who will leave Livingston in the summer as they look to reshuffle the pack, but he wanted to give those departing a final chance to say goodbye.

Livi boss Martindale admitted that the number of changes made to the side disrupted their rhythm at first, but was glad to get the win.

“With the amount of changes, it took us a wee while to get to grips with the game,” he said in his post-match conference.

“I don’t think there was much in the first half. I thought we did all right, Dundee were okay, there was nothing really in the game of any note.

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“They scored against the run of play, which was a wee bit of a negative. We need to stop the cross but we need to defend the back post better.”

Livi boss claims Maley changed the game for home side

Martindale also reserved praise for fans’ favourite Maley, who he claimed changed the game when brought onto the pitch.

He added: “The gamechanger was putting big Gary Maley on. We were 1-0 down and we win 2-1, so that’s got to be the headline.

“He was man of the match as well. There can’t be many players who have played 18 minutes and won man of the match.

“The changes really helped us pick the game up and, all joking aside, big Stretch (Maley) going on actually picked the crowd up – and I think that translated onto the park.

“And the four substitutions helped that, obviously.”

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