Dunfermline left-back Jason Talbot is looking forward to the opportunity of facing his former club for the first time since leaving Livingston three seasons ago.
The full-back was on the bench for the opening game of the season after recovering from injury and told jordanburtfootball.com ahead of tomorrow’s match:
“I was really frustrated as I was just coming back from injury so I could only make it on to the bench. I knew I wasn’t really going to play unless something went drastically wrong. It was in the back of my mind that I needed to get back into the team and I am glad I have been able to do that so now I am just focused on making sure I get picked to be able to face them in this game because I know for a fact that when we get a team like Livingston, out on this pitch, we can do some damage to them. East End Park is a great place to play at – look at the pitch for example, it is amazing. Emotion wise, you just need to get on with it. I can’t let outside influences get to me, that is the main thing.”
Sentiment goes out of the window for Talbot as soon as he crosses the white line.
“It has to be, it is part and parcel of football. You can have a laugh and a joke in the dressing room before a game or after a game but as soon as I cross that white line on match day, that is it, I am in game mode. I don’t care if you are my best mate and you are up against me – I am going to smash you as I want to win! I am old school, so I ain’t going to say to him “have a nice game” as I am fully focused on my own game and all I am thinking about is helping my side win 3 points.”
Talking about his time with the Lions, Talbot reminisces by saying:
“At the time I joined, there was an Italian consortium taking over Livingston so there was a lot of change going on there. I didn’t know the full ins and outs of the situation at the time but I done as much research as I could and then learnt more bits and bobs throughout the season. At the time, all I was focused on was staying in the team as they had signed another two left-backs. The Italian managers at the time were really good at progressing my game. I was always a defender, first and foremost, and I was always someone who just backed up the play rather than going on the overlap and getting crosses into the box, however, when I came up here, he told me “I can do it” as I was doing it in training and they worked with me to implement it into my game. That first season really benefitted me.”
“There was a time, when it came to the end to the end of the season, and we were in Administration, where I thought “where am I going to go from here?”. Despite playing all the time, that season was tough as the money side of things just wasn’t working. We were getting paid late one month then not at all the next…we were flying up until the point we stopped getting paid. We were top of the league but team morale went down – not because we hated each other but due to the off field matters as it does carry its way on to the pitch. If you are worrying about where your next mortgage payment is going to come from or how you can afford the shopping bill to feed your kids next week then it does affect you and there was a point where I seriously considered moving back down south because I didn’t know many people at that point to try get a move to another club in Scotland.”
In the following two seasons, Talbot won the Third Division and Second Division after sticking with the Lions, despite Livi being relegated to the fourth tier of Scottish football.
“The club were great; they honoured my contract that season and they didn’t need to do that. They didn’t have to do that after all that had gone on, but they honoured what I had originally signed even though we were in the fourth tier. Livingston are a big club and they have always had potential to do well and it is just a shame what went on with the ownership of the club and that shouldn’t influence the on-field affairs but it does, and that isn’t fair. Staying on and helping the club get back to the Championship certainly justified my decision in hanging around. Dropping down to the bottom tier, it opens your eyes. Travelling to places like Montrose and Arbroath and battling for three points – it gives you so much experience, learning how to win at tough away venues. It also makes you appreciate the club you are at and football in general.”
“Due to being with Livingston for a while, I did build up a connection with people and fans in and around the club. They don’t have a massive fan base, which is a shame, but it is true, then it does allow you to build up a rapport with the fans who turn up week in week out, no matter where you are. All it takes is a wee conversation and it makes their day – it makes you more grounded and level as you get to talk to lots of different supporters who never have a bad word to say and it gives you that real club spirit where you are all in it together, just like here at Dunfermline.”
How tough a call was it for Jason to leave after 7 years with the club?
“At the time, I felt it was the right decision. I also feel my decision to leave also influenced certain other players, big players for Livingston, to leave at that time too. Do I regret leaving them? No, I don’t. In a sense, you wish you had stayed as you were only three years away from a testimonial and not many people get one of them these days. To be part of what I was for 7 years, I have built up so many good memories. Yes, there were bad ones too but the good memories certainly outweigh the bad. It was a big decision but looking back now, it was the correct decision for my career to leave Livingston and join Dunfermline.”
Heading into the second quarter of the season, the Englishman concluded by saying:
“My message to the fans would be thank you to all the supporters who turn up week in, week out and constantly encourage us. We are extremely grateful for it and we want that to continue as the more fans we can get in to the stadium the better as we can easily make East End Park a fortress. When we get teams here they don’t succeed that often as we don’t crumble under the pressure of the fans being on our backs, if things don’t go our way. If they can keep supporting us how they have been, then things will continue to go well and that can only aid the good relationship we all have here at the club. The support really does help us and if we can keep doing our jobs then we can look forward to finding out what will happen in the future.”