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Ibrox exit was only way to ever play for Rangers again, says Livingston goalkeeper Liam Kelly

Livingston goalkeeper Liam Kelly (SNS Group)
Livingston goalkeeper Liam Kelly (SNS Group)

LIAM KELLY left Rangers to become Livingston’s No. 1.

Today he aims to prove he made the right decision – by shutting out the Gers.

Kelly spent 14 years battling through the Rangers ranks but found himself unable to depose the experienced stoppers ahead of him.

He understands why, and leapt to Livi in search of first-team football.

Now the 22-year-old wants his stellar start to the season to continue against his old team.

“This is exactly why I left – to play against teams as good as Rangers,” said Kelly.

“If I ever want to play for Rangers, then I had to leave Rangers – if that makes sense to people.

“With the goalkeepers who were there, the opportunities were never likely to come. I made the decision to leave.

“I had a year left on my contract, and had been on loan at Livi. I’m thankful the club let me move on, because they didn’t have to.

“If Rangers were desperate to keep me and really needed me, they would have kept me. So I think it has worked out well for both parties.

“I don’t think Rangers have suffered a major loss as I wouldn’t have been playing anyway, whereas I’m playing every week in the Premiership with a good group of boys here.”

He added: “Everybody I spoke to told me it was time to go.

“Wes Foderingham and Jim Stewart all agreed that it was time to go and get games somewhere. I wouldn’t get that at Rangers.

“That isn’t a fault of anyone there. It was just a case of: ‘Can we afford to throw a goalie who has only ever played for East Fife and Livingston straight into the Rangers first-team?’ I’m not sure.”

Kelly may not have been troubling Gers No. 1 Wes Foderingham, but he has put everything he learned at the Ibrox club into practice for Livi.

He capped a terrific opening to the season – which has included three clean sheets in his last four games – by saving a Steven Naismith penalty against Hearts last week. Now he has no intention of resting on his laurels.

“When you know you are playing and will stay in the team if you do well, that’s what you want to do,” he said.

“There are some really good goalkeepers here. This is a Premiership club now, and we are all pushing each other.

“I just want to keep playing well and helping the team.”