Ex-Gala Fairydean Rovers boss Neil Hastings tells of joy at rejoining Livingston

Former Gala Fairydean Rovers manager Neil Hastings has told of his joy at rejoining old club Livingston as one of their first-team coaches.

By Darin Hutson
Tuesday, 18th January 2022, 7:41 am
Former Gala Fairydean Rovers boss Neil Hastings, now back at Livingston (Photo: Thomas Brown)
Former Gala Fairydean Rovers boss Neil Hastings, now back at Livingston (Photo: Thomas Brown)

Hastings left the Galashiels side a week ago on Monday and his new role at the Scottish Premiership side as assistant to manager David Martindale, replacing Dougie Imrie following his move to Greenock Morton last month, has now been confirmed.

The 30-year-old, at Gala since May 2019, has been replaced on an interim basis by fellow ex-Livi player Martin Scott, alias Jimmy, his assistant manager since June last year.

Former Livingston centre-back Hastings left the West Lothian club, currently eighth in Scottish football’s top flight with 20 points from as many games, after retiring as a player in 2014 due to injury and went on to take up assistant manager posts at Cowdenbeath and Berwick Rangers before taking charge at Netherdale.

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New Gala Fairydean Rovers manager Martin ‘Jimmy’ Scott (Photo: Thomas Brown)

“It’s great to be back at the club after all these years,” he said.

“I was fortunate enough to come through the youth academy here so the club has a special place in my heart. It’s good to be back about the place again.

“A big thank-you goes to Davie Martindale for giving me the opportunity to come in and coach in the Premiership, and I’m looking forward to helping to continue the positive and progressive journey that the club have been on over recent years.

“I really enjoyed my time at Gala, a club full of great people, and I wish Jimmy all the best in his new role.

“I’m looking forward to getting stuck in here and doing my best to help improve the club and improve my own skills as a coach along the way.”

Martindale said: “When I first came to Livingston eight years ago, Neil Hastings was already part of the coaching staff and used to help out with the youth academy, and I remember Neilly making me feel really welcome in my first year at the club.

“Unfortunately, resources and finances at the club were cut the following year and sadly Neilly didn’t have his contract renewed at the time, so it was always in the back of my head that, if at all possible, and if we were in a better place in the future, I would look to try and bring him back because I think he was a wee bit unfortunate last time round and I already knew he was a really good coach.

“With Dougie moving to Morton, it opened up a hybrid role for a first-team coach and someone to help out in the youth academy and Neilly fitted the bill perfectly.

“I’ve always kept in touch with him and I know how good a coach he is, and he’s now been out coaching men’s football, adding that to his CV, so he is coming back into the club as a better coach than when he left.

“I’m delighted to bring him back in and delighted to be able to give someone an opportunity in professional football because it can sometimes be somewhat of a closed shop and very difficult to get in.

“I was given an opportunity here myself eight years ago and I’m delighted that I can offer that same opportunity to Neil Hastings and equally delighted that he’s accepted the job.”