Andrew Shinnie is relishing his leadership role within the Livingston squad after he signed on earlier this week for a third season with the West Lothian club.
The 33-year-old joined the Lions in 2021 and manager David Martindale sees the former Inverness, Birmingham and Luton midfielder as one of the senior figures in a dressing room that is about to lose captain Nicky Devlin – among others – under freedom of contract this summer.
Shinnie, who penned a one-year extension to the end of next term, is aware he might not be the first name on the team-sheet every week, but he is happy to help guide his younger colleagues.
“We’ll probably lose a couple of important players but Davie and the staff will hopefully recruit some gems like they normally find, and we’ve also got the nucleus of a strong squad that will still be here,” said Shinnie.
“As a senior pro, I want to really help the group kick on next year, on and off the park.
“I’ve spoken about it with Davie and I know I might not play as regularly as I’d have wanted when I was younger but I’ll still be doing my all to be on the pitch every week and if not, I’ll be there to try to push the boys on and support them in every way.”
Asked if leadership came naturally to him, Shinnie – whose brother Graeme is the captain of Aberdeen – said: “Probably, yes, but I’ve definitely developed it since I came to Livingston.
“There are quite a lot of young players here so I’ve taken that onus on. Davie’s helped me with it as well, he’s put a lot of responsibility on me, so I definitely think I’ve developed it.
“I think boys feel comfortable pulling me for little chats if they need advice or whatever, and I’ve quite enjoyed that side of it since I came here.
“You need to take that ownership as a more older, senior player to be there for the group and try and be a calming influence at rough times because football can be difficult. You need to be level-headed.”
Shinnie is currently trying to guide his team-mates through their toughest spell of the season. The Lions head to Kilmarnock on Saturday on the back of a run of eight defeats in 11 games in all competitions.
“We were really disappointed to miss out on the top six after having such a good two-thirds of the season,” said Shinnie. “We’ve tailed off a bit at the wrong time which has killed us.
“We’re still a couple of points ahead in seventh and we want to finish best of the rest (top of the bottom six).
“Killie are another team fighting for their lives and they have a great home record so it’s going to be hard. It’s another challenge for us.”