Interest fee

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

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

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

George, who was Colchester’s Player of the Season last season, said: “From League Two to Scottish Premiership it’s a huge leap but I’m up for the challenge.

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

“I heard they don’t usually spend money on transfers, so this is definitely a transfer I’m grateful for and will do my best to repay the trust they have in me.”

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

“With Mickey Mellon in Tranmere, we had a bit of a fight,” he said.

“It was probably my fault, but it’s definitely one of my faults. It’s definitely something that I benefited from. It’s not all simple or easy.

George then spent 18 months with an elbow injury.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Ivan and Max have opened the door for someone else to take that jersey, so it’s up to Shamal to lose right now.”

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 end of the season and it cooled off a lot,” he said.

“I sincerely believe that over the next two or three weeks you will see a recovery in the market.”

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