Livingston start new manager search after David Hopkin departs

Former Livingston manager David Hopkin
Manager David Hopkin led Livingston from League One to the Premiership in back-to-back seasons

Livingston are searching for a new manager after David Hopkin rejected a contract extension.

Hopkin was offered a new deal after back-to-back promotions took Livingston from League One to the Premiership.

The 47-year-old expects to clarify his future next week.

"After a great three and a half seasons at Livingston FC and after much deliberation, I feel it is now time for me to seek a new challenge in football," said Hopkins.

"The players have improved each season and been willing to take on new information and believe in my football philosophy. It gives me great satisfaction when I see a player improve and instilling that winning mentality I have always had as a player and a coach.

"The team spirit and togetherness created by the players and staff will always be special to me. The squad of players the next manager will inherit will be a strong unit that I am sure will help push the club even further."

Shrewsbury Town are interested in Hopkin, after their manager Paul Hurst agreed to move to Ipswich, while Bradford City, one of Hopkin's former clubs, are also in the market for a new manager.

However, BBC Scotland understands that he will not be speaking to St Mirren about the management vacancy there.

Livingston said in a statement: "The club has been assessing other candidates in the knowledge that David would potentially move on.

"[The club] will take time to consider these options. In the meantime [first-team coach] David Martindale will take charge of football affairs."

The former Chelsea and Leeds United midfielder led his side to a second successive promotion after defeating Dundee United then Partick Thistle in the play-offs.

"David is aware of the speculation around other positions, and although he has been open and transparent and not accepted any other role at this time, he feels that the longer this continues the more it will undermine the success that he and the coaching staff have achieved," Livingston added in their statement.

"His decision is not the consequence of an unacceptable offer or budget, but is based purely on personal circumstances. Which we fully respect and acknowledge.

"We would like to put on record our deep gratitude for David's efforts in guiding us back to the Premiership, and wish him well whatever the outcome of his future talks."

Steven Saunders in action for TNS
Steven Saunders has signed a two-year deal with Livingston

Meanwhile, Scotland cap Steven Saunders has become the club's second signing of the summer, joining midfielder Craig Sibbald who joined the yesterday.

Saunders has signed a two-year deal after leaving Welsh side The New Saints.

Assistant manager David Martindale said: "We were after Steven when he was previously playing for Dumbarton in the Championship.

"He brings a wealth of experience to Livingston, having made over 50 appearances for Motherwell and 19 for Ross County in the Premiership.

"He is a big strong quick player and can play centre back or right back."

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