BY DARREN JOHNSTONE @CCP_Sport
Livingston are set to sign former Hearts defender Craig Thomson next month despite facing criticism from their own supporters.
Talks have taken place with the 24-year-old and the Lions are hoping to strike a deal to take Thomson to the Tony Macaroni Arena from junior outfit Newtongrange Star when the January transfer window opens.
Thomson has not played professional football in Scotland since pleading guilty to preying on two underage girls online in June 2011 when he was then an employee of the Tynecastle outfit.
The player was fined £4,000 and placed on the sex offenders’ register for five years for his ‘lewd, libidinous and indecent behaviour’ towards girls aged 12 and 14.
After brief loan stints with Lithuanian clubs FBK Kaunas and FK Suduva and a short-lived switch to Cypriot side AEP Paphos, Thomson has played in the junior ranks with Arniston Rangers and current team Newtongrange.
Lions manager Mark Burchill was unavailable for comment yesterday but news of Thomson’s expected arrival has received mixed reaction from fans.
David Stoker, a former fans representative on the Livingston board, tweeted: “Morally bankrupt FC. A total embarrassment.”
Meanwhile, Livingston Supporters Trust vice-chairman Don Paul said: “I always regard Livingston as a community and family club and I hope that continues.
“On a personal level, I would be happy to see people given a chance to reform and make amends to their own lives if they have served their punishment.”
Newtongrange boss Alan Miller is delighted that Thomson is on the verge of being handed a second chance in the professional game.
Miller said: “His talent deserves that. I know it’s going to be tough because he’s 25 in April, it will be tough to move on to an even bigger club.
“There’s no reason ability-wise why he can’t or shouldn’t. If this comes to pass and Craig moves on in the January window, we’ll wish him all the best and thank him for his services at Newtongrange Star.”