Livingston hoping new signing Pepe can fill void left by Halkett

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Livingston manager Gary Holt has signed French defender Cece Franck Pepe on an initial two-year deal. (Graham Stewart/PA)

Livingston boss Gary Holt has high hopes for new signing Cece Franck Pepe after handing the Frenchman a two-year deal.

The former Paris St-Germain and Marseille youngster has joined the Lions after impressing on trial, with Livi holding the option of extending the 22-year-old’s contract into a third season.

Holt and assistant Davie Martindale have been on the lookout for a new centre-back since losing skipper Craig Halkett to Hearts.

Now Holt is hoping he has found the answer to his problem in the shape of Pepe, who spent most of last season playing in Italy with Serie C outfit Rieti following a stint in Ukraine.

“Davie and I had Cece in for a week or so training near the tail end of the season and we really liked the lad,” Holt told the Livingston website.

“He showed to get on extremely well within our squad and we both feel he will be a fantastic asset for Livingston.

“He is a product of the Marseille youth academy and has also gained some first-team experience in the Ukraine and Italy.

“Cécé is an out-and-out defender and likes to defend, good on the ball, physical and has a bit of pace in his locker. All in all, we feel he is a fantastic signing for the club.”