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David Martindale has thanked the Livingston board for pushing the boat out to allow him to sign goalkeeper Shamal George from Colchester on a four-year contract.

The Lions made the rare move of paying a transfer fee – undisclosed by the clubs – for the 24-year-old, who was named the U’s player of the year last term.

The 6ft 6in George, who came through the youth ranks at Liverpool, has been given the number one jersey by the Lions.

“We are absolutely delighted to get this one over the line,” manager Martindale told the Livingston website.

“We have been tracking Shamal for a few months now and we have finally managed to agree a transfer fee with Colchester and a four-year contract with Shamal himself.

“It’s very rare that you will see Livingston spend money on a transfer fee, but it shows you how highly we regard Shamal and the ambitions we have for him personally.

“Shamal will come in and will wear the number one shirt for the forthcoming season. He’s at a good age and has played enough games in senior football and performed consistently well to get our attention.

“He has all the attributes to kick on and really give himself the best chance possible at playing at a top, top level. I’m sure he is going to be a fantastic addition to our squad.

“Huge credit must go to (chairman) Robert Wilson and (chief executive) John Ward for helping to make the funds available to make this transfer happen.

“Historically, we’ve always been a selling club and that doesn’t change however, having the backing of the board to be able to go and spend money on securing the services of a player to help better the squad is greatly appreciated and I’ve no doubt that backing will be rewarded with Shamal’s inclusion in the squad.

“I want to go on record thanking Colchester for their professionalism and understanding. I would also like to thank Shamal’s agents who have been tremendous in helping get this one over the line.

“Lastly, I want to thank Shamal himself as I know he had far more lucrative offers elsewhere but chose to continue his development with ourselves here at Livingston.”