Livingston part company with player-manager Miller after seven weeks

Kenny Miller

Kenny Miller’s seven-week tenure as Livingston player-manager is over.

Miller only took the position at the West Lothian club at the end of June after succeeding David Hopkin, who led them back to the Premiership.

A club statement said they “have amicably agreed to part company” with the former Rangers striker, 38, after talks over the weekend.

The club “felt the player-manager role wasn’t working” and wanted Miller “to revert to a full-time manager’s role”.

“Kenny however feels that he isn’t ready to give up his football career at this time,” it added.

“As a result the club and Kenny have amicably agreed to part company.

“Livingston Football Club would like to thank Kenny for his honesty and openness, and wish him well for the future.”

Miller played in all seven of Livingston’s matches this season, scoring one goal.

The former Scotland forward admitted when he took the job on 30 June that he was in two minds over whether to concentrate on continuing his playing career, with other Premiership clubs like Aberdeen and St Mirren keen on his services after a controversial departure from Rangers.

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But he told the BBC’s Football Focus programme on Saturday that he was “loving” the challenge of combining playing and managing at Livingston.

“I always wanted to get into management and it was always going to be that next step for me,” he said.

“This came up a bit out of the blue. But I want to get to the top in the management game and you need to start somewhere.

“I feel it is a fantastic opportunity. Not a lot of people get an opportunity to start in the top flight, under circumstances where it isn’t broken and you don’t have to come in and make a raft of changes.”

Miller retained Hopkin’s assistant David Martindale, who will take over in a caretaker capacity, and worked with the existing backroom staff at the club.

They finished top of their League Cup section, beating Airdrieonians, Annan Athletic and Berwick Rangers, and winning a penalty shoot-out with Hamilton Academical.

After losing 3-1 at champions Celtic in their first Premiership game of the season, they picked up their first point in a goalless draw with Kilmarnock, before losing 1-0 at home to Motherwell in the second round of the League Cup on Saturday.

“I am still preparing as a player and keeping fit and doing everything in terms of recovery; that side has not changed,” Miller told Football Focus before his departure.

“I have stuck with the routine I have done for years, a day before the game, two days before the game, and the days after a game.

“It is the real working days that are a bit different because we are needing to prepare. Obviously you are still involved in the sessions, I will discuss them with Davie [Martindale] and he will take part of the session while I am in it.

“But you have always got an eye on making sure everything is running smoothly and you are getting out of the sessions what you need.”

Miller has also been involved in a tribunal case with former club Rangers, challenging the fine and internal suspension imposed on him after a post-match dispute with then manager Graeme Murty after a 4-0 Scottish Cup semi-final defeat by Celtic in April.

His third spell at Ibrox ended this summer when he was not offered a new contract.

Livingston are in their first season back in Scotland’s top flight since 2006, after winning successive promotions from League One and the Championship.

Their next game is at fellow promoted side St Mirren in the Premiership on Saturday, 25 August.

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