LIVINGSTON look to be teetering on the brink of administration due to unpaid rent.
The lights have been out due to an unpaid Scottish Power bill while players and staff have been left without wages.
Players have been sold while the management team has been sacked.
It has been a pre season to forget for Lions fans but skipper Chris Innes reckons there is still a core of quality players and promising youngsters at the club who can make the new season one to remember — for the right reasons.
Innes admits the team will miss the likes of Dave Mackay, Murray Davidson and Leigh Griffiths after the trio flew the Almondvale nest this summer but the early signs are good on the field for the players still in West Lothian.
Innes began: “Training is going really well. It has been enjoyable and the new coach has had a great reaction. It has been refreshing and a different take on the regular pre season.
“Surprisingly the mood in the dressing room is good. We are all aware of what is happening behind the scenes at the club but it is my job as captain to ensure the boys stay focused on matters on the field and to be honest I’ve not had to do a lot to do that.
“The boys have been extremely professional just as they were through all of last year’s situations. They are a great credit to themselves, their families and the club.
“I don’t think there is any doubt we are a bit weaker than we were at this stage last year and anyone would miss guys like James McPake, Mackay, Davidson and Sparky.
“We’ve lost five or six in all so we are a weaker squad but I can't think drastically so. But at the same time them leaving gives some of the boys here the chance to step up to the plate and fill their boots.
“Livingston are famous for producing good young talent and this gives the kids a chance to come and prove themselves.
“I’m sure they will all realise the opportunity they have here as it has been proven time and time again young players will get a chance here.”
Attempting to steady the Livingston ship in the current stormy waters is new boss John Murphy who initially joined the club as goalkeeping coach in March.
But following the suspension and subsequent sacking of Paul Hegarty the American has been fast tracked into the manager’s hotseat.
And Innes insists the fact he was already with the club made him the ideal candidate for the job when it became available.
He continued: “It bedded him in and it helps a lot that he already knew the players and what we can and can’t do while the fact we know him will benefit us as well.
“He earned the respect of the dressing room last year and was the natural choice to take over and I’m sure the boys have been more than impressed since he took charge.”
A big loss to Livingston next season will be Leigh Griffiths who has been lured to Tayside by Dundee after a sensational season in which he scored 22 goals in just 28 games, was crowned the PFA First Division Players’ Player of the Year, picked up an award for Young Player of the Season at the Irn Bru SFL awards and capped his Scotland B debut with a goal.
And Innes reckons the Dark Blues, with Sparky spearheading their attack should be ranked among the favourites for the title next season.
“Dundee and Dunfermline will be the favourites but then they don’t always win the titles. St Johnstone had a sticky patch before putting their foot down last year and it had already taken them three years so it is a tough league to get out of.
“I accept our chances to win the league are an outside bet but we will take points off the big teams as Livingston always do.
“The league is so tight you can be on the coat tails of the winners while battling relegation at the same time.
“Last year we won the first nine games and to be honest I think that gave us the bedrock to actually stay in the league.”