Whilst we’ve not got new games to look forward to in the foreseeable future, we have plenty of matches to look back on with fondness.
One of them just happens to be a historic event from Livingston’s history, 16 years ago today. A day engraved into the club’s history, the Lions won the League Cup on this day at Hampden during the 2003/2004 season.
It was the first trophy in Livingston’s history.
Livi were not the favoured option going into this one. Their Edinburgh opponents were expected to win this, with the likes of an up and coming Scott Brown in their team, alongside Gary Caldwell, Kevin Thomson and Derek Riordan.
There was an added implication. David Hay’s team at the time had entered administration prior to this match but much of the first-team had remained in tact for the showpiece event.
Nobody outside of Glasgow had won a cup in Scotland since 1998 prior to this final, so it really was a huge event.
Hay’s men were put under pressure early on, Caldwell of all people having an acrobatic effort denied by Roddy McKenzie, but only just. Brown was next to try his luck before Gary O’Connor also watched as an effort went without a goal as a reward.
The imposing Marvin Andrews blocked his shot on the line. Managed by Bobby Williamson, Hibs were causing Livingston all sorts of problems in front of 45,000 at Hampden but it was the under pressure side who struck at the double.
Lee Makel played a nice ball out to Burton O’Brien, who found Derek Lilley in the box, making no mistake with the finish. Hay’s men were in full control two minutes later as Jamie McAlister curled an effort into the net 52 minutes in.
With a quick one-two, Livingston won the cup.
Bigger than European medals
Boss Hay had been there and done it with Celtic, winning ten competitions with the Hoops alone, on top of honours during his time at Motherwell in the 1982-83 season and Lillestrøm SK in 1989.
But as an achievement itself, the 2004 League Cup final was perhaps the biggest. Speaking to the BBC at the time, he hailed the remarkable achievement.
“I think, for so many reasons, like the fact that I wasn’t involved at the start of the season and the administration aspect, it is probably not as great as playing in a World Cup or winning the championship with Celtic,.
“But, as an achievement, you could actually say it ranks greater than that – the fact that you have done it with a club like Livingston.”
For Man of the Match and then-captain Stuart Lovell, it was sheer relief. Ten minutes of magic had won Livi their prestigious honour.
He told the BBC at the time: “We had a great 10-minute spell, scored two goals and that was it. But it feels great and there’s a lot of relief involved. It was a heavy pitch out there and it was very hard work.
“We would have preferred to play better, but it’s all about winning.” Lovell was one of six players asked to take a pay-cut or leave the club as they entered administration, remarkably becoming the first club in Britain to win a major trophy whilst in financial turmoil.
He took the cut in wages, walking up the Hampden stairs to lift the League Cup as a West Lothian hero.