Livingston last night created Scottish footballing history when they took the audacious step of becoming the first club to appoint a Brazilian, Marcio Maximo, as their manager, assuming a work permit will be granted by the relevant government body.

His arrival on these shores represents not only a culture shock but also a major challenge for the 40-year-old, although, as he was to reveal, he has already coped with more severe problems than the mere revitalisation of a football club.

The appointment of Maximo, the former coach of the Brazilian under-17 and under-20 national sides, has meant a restructuring - an Orwellian term if ever there was one - of the management team at Almondvale.

Jim Leishman, who helped the team win the first division championship in 2001 and then guided the club to third place and qualification for the UEFA Cup a year later, has accepted the post of general manager. Meanwhile, first team coach Davie Hay will assume Leishman's title, while deferring to the newcomer in matters of team selection.

During his time with the CBF in his homeland, Maximo promoted Ronaldo to his under-17 side when he was 15 and also helped nurture the career of fellow World Cup winner Ronaldinho. However, he has accepted that his work in West Lothian, which will begin when the players report back on July 3, will not involve a transfer budget.

The reshuffle at Livingston comes at the conclusion of a disappointing campaign in which they finished ninth in the Premierleague. With the club's debt spiralling to more than (pounds) 8m, club chairman Dominic Keane saw that as a poor return for mounting investment in players' wages. In the circumstances, then, a change was hardly surprising but the identity of Leishman's replacement most certainly was.

Maximo, whose three-year contract as technical director with the Grand Cayman Islands - he instigated their first national team - expired last month, rejected the offer of a 10-year extension in order to work in Europe.

''I had opportunities to go to China and the United Arab Emirates as well as Livingston but I wanted to try a new experience,'' he said. ''I've come to Scotland to make my contribution but I don't want to change your traditions. I remember watching your national side on television and seeing great players such as Kenny Dalglish and Graeme Souness. I hope it is possible to help create the next generation.''

Maximo surely is astute enough to realise that he - and Berti Vogts for that matter - will not be working with players of that calibre any time soon. Indeed, by describing his new post as ''a challenge'' he indicated as much.

Not that he has been found wanting in that department in the past. At the age of 20, while a promising young player with Botafogo, he was involved in a near-fatal car crash which, fortunately, only terminated his playing career.

''My sciatic nerve was badly damaged,'' he revealed. ''I required seven operations on my back and was in hospital for four months. It could easily have been much worse but my dream of being a footballer

was ended then. It changed the whole direction of my life but I don't dwell on it: any time I have had a challenge in life I have not disappointed myself.''

Undeterred, Maximo pursued his interest in the game through a university education. He earned degrees in sports psychology and physical education before taking up his first coaching post, in Saudi Arabia, at the age of 24. He has also worked in Sao Paulo and with Vasco da Gama in his homeland as well as enjoying a spell as coach of Qatar's national team.

His aim, now, though is to make a more positive impression than the only other Brazilian to feature in the SPL, the much-derided Celtic defender Rafael Scheidt. ''I know him and he is not a bad player, but I believe he had injury problems when he came to Glasgow,'' claimed Maximo.

''My concern now is to give Livingston 100% of my concentration while we prepare for next season. Then, in September, my wife and mother will join me here.''

Keane, clearly delighted with his acquisition, said: ''I first heard about Marcio through an agent friend of mine who's based in the USA. I travel to the States a lot and met Marcio over there at the turn of the year. We clicked immediately and kept in touch by telephone, although initially it wasn't with the idea of bringing him here.

''Our original plan was for Jim to move upstairs last summer but, having taken us into Europe, I felt it would be unfair not to allow him a crack at it.

''Now, though, is the right time for a change. We under-achieved last season and the new set-up will have Marcio working on the training ground with coach Allan Preston.

''Davie, who has a great eye for a player, will be less hands-on but will be involved in discussions with those two after Marcio has formulated his plan for matches each week.

''People may say that we should have gone for a Scottish coach but there aren't too many outstanding ones available who haven't been tied up. In any case, I feel this is a brave move on our part.''