The Lyndon Dykes journey, not knowing Paul Gascoigne, EPL chances and ex-Livi star who wanted to 'smash him'

Livingston boss David Martindale has a story, involving Paul Gascoigne, which paints an enlightening and somewhat amusing picture of Lyndon Dykes. Of a football player who knew little of the game but one where the game came natural to him.

Within four years of turning out for Surfers Paradise Apollo in his native Australia, he had made his debut for Scotland and earned a reported £2million move to the English Championship after just one season at Livingston having been signed from Queen of the South.

“He was a late developer,” Martindale said. “He was really late in his career when he started to take football seriously. He knew nothing about football, genuinely nothing. I remember we were in Tenerife and Gazza was staying at the hotel and I’m saying ‘Gazza’, and he’s looking at me, ‘who’s Gazza?. That’s how late Lyndon was to football. But football came so naturally to him and then suddenly he’s taking Scotland to the Euros and playing in the English Champ.”

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On Tuesday Livingston will be hoping for a reunion with a player who remains popular around the Tony Macaroni Arena, even if he was there for just one full season. It speaks to him as an individual. Martindale lights up when speaking about him. Whether it is about the future and the possibility of Dykes making the step up to the Premier League or the past and his journey to becoming a No.9.

Capable of Premier League step up

“I'm really, really proud of Lyndon, it was one of these ones that we had to talk him into being a number nine if I’m honest,” the Livi boss said. “I remember the first conversation we had in here with his agent, he played off the left or he played in front of Dobbie, you’re a number nine next year. He didn’t want the number nine shirt, he didn’t see himself as that. Gradually he came into training and he said, ‘l’ll take that number shirt’, he had no choice. He worked his way into it. When he left here, he played the next five games for Scotland and led the line incredibly well and played a huge part in getting us to the Euros, that was a hugely proud moment for everybody at Livingston.

“I took some personal satisfaction that you play a small part in somebody’s career that has turned out to be extremely successful, We’ve done that with a few players, Declan Gallagher, Liam Kelly, Craig Halkett, Ryan Hardie is flying at the top of League One.”

He added "The most successful strikers who move on to Premier League, for Lyndon to move your numbers need to be in the 20s. I think he’s more than capable of doing that now. It would be incredible to see someone like Lyndon in the Premier League.”

Dykes has played more than 100 games for QPR. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Martindale has often spoken of the role Livingston's defenders at the time played in the signing of Dykes. Alan Lithgow and Halkett spoke highly of him, while there was one memorable encounter with Queen of the South which saw Gallagher grow frustrated with the striker.

“He was winding big Deccy up, which is easy to do," Martindale said. “I kept shouting to Deccy, ‘calm down’, he's saying, ‘I’m going to smash him’. Lyndon is like, ‘you’ll not smash me’.”

Lyndon Dykes emerged as an important player for Steve Clarke and Scotland. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

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