Shamal George grateful after Livingston pay rare transfer fee to sign him

The goalkeeper moved to Scotland from Colchester.

By Press Association Published: 29 July 2022 - 2.54pm

Shamal George is determined to repay Livingston’s faith after the club paid a rare transfer fee to sign the goalkeeper from Colchester.

The 24-year-old is in line to make his debut against Rangers in Saturday’s cinch Premiership opener at the Tony Macaroni Arena.

George, who was Colchester’s player of the season last term, said: “From League Two to the Scottish Prem is a massive jump but I’m ready for the challenge.

“It’s the biggest game of my career so it’s one I am looking forward to. It’s a good one to start with, the most challenging ones get you ready for the season.

“I heard they don’t usually spend money on transfers so it’s definitely one I am grateful for and I will do my best to repay the faith they have in me.”

George spent 13 years at Liverpool during his formative years during which he played a total of 10 games in loan spells with Carlisle and Tranmere, which he termed “not the best”.

“With Mickey Mellon at Tranmere, we had a bit of a falling-out,” he said.

“It was probably my own fault but it’s definitely one I have matured from. It’s definitely something I benefited from. It’s not all plain-sailing or easy.”

George then spent 18 months out with an elbow injury.

“It set me back too much so I decided I needed to leave and try and play men’s football,” he said.

“I went to Colchester and had a really good two years.

“I benefited from being away from friends and stuff, there were no distractions, and I definitely played my best football.”

George has been brought in after Max Stryjek, who was sent off against Inverness, and Ivan Konovalov were given chances during the Premier Sports Cup group stages.

“Shamal’s at a good age, his stats are there to be seen and I think he will grow into being the Livingston number one over the next three to six months,” boss David Martindale said.

“I spoke to Ivan and Max and was very, very honest with them. I told them they both had opportunities to stake their claim in the Premier Sports Cup. I don’t think either did that convincingly to be honest.

“If one of them were to chap my door and ask to leave the club, I wouldn’t be averse to that.

“Ivan and Max have opened the door for someone else to take that jersey so it’s Shamal’s to lose at this moment in time.”

Martindale had brought in Russian Konovalov as a long-term replacement for Styrek, who he expected to sell this summer.

“There was a lot of interest in Max before the season ended and it kind of cooled down a lot,” he said.

“I genuinely believe over the next two or three weeks you will see an upturn in the market.”

BT Sport Monthly Pass

Join the home of live sport for just £25 per month. Get instant access to the BT Sport app, with no contract and no BT broadband required.