Livingston have signed veteran goalkeeper Michael McGovern on loan from Hearts for the remainder of the season.
David Martindale felt compelled to enter the market for a new keeper after Jack Hamilton, who took over from long-time number one Shamal George just before the winter break, suffered an injury on the club’s recent warm-weather training trip to Turkey that could keep him sidelined for around two months.
Former Falkirk, Hamilton and Norwich keeper McGovern, 39, won 32 caps for Northern Ireland and played at Euro 2016 but has not made a single appearance since joining Hearts in the summer.
“Ideally, it wasn’t a position we were overly looking to strengthen as I feel we could use the resources elsewhere, but the trip to Turkey highlighted that we needed another keeper in the building,” Martindale told the Lions’ website.
“Neither Jack or Shamal were available for the games over in Turkey due to injuries and Jack’s probably takes him beyond the January window so we felt we needed another goalkeeper in the building now.”
Speaking earlier on Friday at his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s Scottish Gas Scottish Cup match at home to Raith, Martindale admitted he was finding it difficult to attract players of the calibre he would like to Livingston this month after missing out on targets like Andy Halliday and Greg Stewart.
The Lions, bottom of the cinch Premiership, recruited defender Shaun Donnellan and striker Tete Yengi at the start of the month, but Martindale felt he needed “another couple” to help spark an upturn.
“It’s been a really difficult window,” said Martindale. “One, financially. And two, most people I speak to are looking at where we are in the league and are choosing to go elsewhere.
“I’ve spoken to two really good Scottish players this window, but I’ve not been able to get them in the building.
“Everybody that’s been linked with us, I’ve probably spoken to at some point, but these players who are going to make us better have other options, which has made us look elsewhere.
“I’m probably going to have to go to the English market to bring bodies in.”
Martindale has managed to free up some money in his modest budget this month, with Scott Bitsindou set to follow Luiyi de Lucas, Tom Parkes and Danny Lloyd out the exit door.
And he revealed the Lions are attempting to loan out 20-year-old South African forward Aphele Teto, who joined on a four-year contract in August, to a European club in an effort to ensure he is eligible for a work permit in the summer.
“If he can get out playing for the next six months, that would give him the necessary change in circumstances to apply for a panel in the summer,” said Martindale.
“It’s frustrating. I believe my opinion should hold a bit more weight when it comes to a work permit because we’re saying he’ll play for us.
“He’s been training with us for six months and he’s been absolutely incredible, he’d have made a big difference for us.”
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