LIVINGSTON may be about to enter uncharted territory, but striker Lee Miller is hoping that for him it is third time lucky in the promotion play-offs.

The veteran striker has bowed out at this stage in the last two seasons while at Falkirk, and knows only too well the pain of falling at the final hurdle after a gruelling league campaign.

But just as his January transfer to Almondvale has reinvigorated the 34-year-old’s career, so too has it renewed hope that he may once again ply his trade at the top of the Scottish game before he hangs up his boots.

“I’ve finished second for three seasons in a row now and haven’t made it up,” said Miller. “But at least I know what it takes and how difficult the play-offs are. It would be a huge moment in my career. Finishing second for the last two years and not going up, it’s so hard to take.

“It will be a proud moment for me and my family if we manage to do it. For all I’ve won caps and played in a lot of high-profile games in Europe, in terms of winning leagues or trophies I’ve only really done it once, and that was when I won the Championship in my second year at Falkirk.

“It would be incredible to round that off with promotion again. You don’t realise back then that these things don’t come around all that often. You just think this football carry-on is all right and not as hard as folk make out.

“It was a bit of a crazy situation because we finished bottom the season before and weren’t relegated because of Airdrie, and then we won the league the next year. It was quite the rollercoaster for the first two years of my senior career.

“I didn’t realise at the time how big that was, so I would love it to happen again for Livingston. It would be an incredible achievement.”

The story of Livingston’s campaign is one of defying the odds, and if this David is to slay the relative Goliaths of Dundee United over two legs to reach the play-off final, then Miller is in no doubt the credit should lie with manager David Hopkin.

He admits that the season hasn’t panned out the way that his club, or he himself expected, after leaving Falkirk, second time around, under a cloud having found first-team opportunities hard to come by under new manager Paul Hartley.

“It’s crazy, absolutely ridiculous,” he said. “What a strange season it has been for myself, and for Livingston, too. They set out their stall at the start of the season just to try and stay in the league, and it was actually funny that when we were mathematically safe the fans were singing ‘we are staying up’ even though we were third at the time!

“It’s been incredible. I’ve only been there since January, but the boys have done a remarkable job – the manager and the squad. They don’t have the budget to work with that the likes of Dundee United have, so we’ve been punching above our weight. The manager deserves great credit for that because so much of it is down to him.

“I never thought about six months ago when things weren’t going so well for me at Falkirk that I would be in this position. It has been a strange season, but I try to take the positives from things. I never played as much as I thought I should have at Falkirk at the time, and that’s just the way it was.

“Things work themselves out in the end, and it’s worked out better for my career anyway. It was unfortunate the way it ended at Falkirk, but that’s just football. I’ve been in the game long enough to understand how it goes.

“I’m just enjoying it now at Livingston, and hopefully it’s third time lucky for me.”

Miller knows first-hand how energy-sapping the route through the play-offs is for Championship clubs, and by his own admission, he isn’t getting any younger. By finishing second in the table though, he believes Livingston have given themselves both a physical and a psychological edge over their opponents tomorrow evening.

“In terms of qualifying through the Championship, we’ve given ourselves the best opportunity possible in terms of being in second position,” he said. “It’s two less games for us and that is a massive boost.

“Having gone through the full set of games before, I know what it’s like. It’s long, it’s tiring, the games come thick and fast and it takes so much out of the squad. You get injuries, suspensions and fatigue, so we are happy that we have at least mitigated that slightly.

“The odds are stacked against the Championship team to get up, but the fact that we’ve finished in second gives us great confidence. Dundee United are a massive club, and probably should be in the Premiership. They have a massive budget, they have spent big, and they should be up there fighting.

“But we are up there on merit. We deserve to be up there and finished above United, so we can take heart from that.”