THE list of forgettable Premiership footballers is as long as it is uninspiring. David McMillan, Giannis Skondras, and Davide Grassi … the type of names that’ll even have club historians rushing to their search engine of choice (for the record those clubs were St Johnstone, Hamilton and Dundee, respectively). 

Such is the league’s Bermuda Triangle-like quality, each year there’s a fresh cohort of players pictured holding their new team’s scarf aloft in July only to be never heard from again until they’re popping up on the Soccer Saturday ticker several seasons later. 

Cristian Montano could so easily have been one of those names. 

The Colombian appeared to be on the verge of getting sucked into that relentless vortex, starting just one of Livingston’s final 13 league games last season and far from the player David Martindale thought he had signed from Port Vale. 

Fast-forward to Saturday and there he was, rampaging up and down the Almondvale turf with some abandon, and scoring a fine winner to boot (his second already of the season). 

The turnaround in his fortunes prompted Martindale to joke in the aftermath that Montano’s twin brother had taken his place during the summer, but, more than anything, it’s the change in position that appears to have done the trick. 

“I have played at left back before and the gaffer has seen something in my there last season,” the 30-year-old said. “I feel more like myself as a full-back. I get to drive from deep and I feel I can create more as well.

HeraldScotland: David Martindale's Livi won for just the second time in their last 15 games against Hearts David Martindale's Livi won for just the second time in their last 15 games against Hearts

“I feel like you get the ball more and you get a better view of the game.”

Montano’s tireless performance typified everything that was so good about Livi on Saturday. After weathering an initial Hearts storm, they rallied to take control of the match, eventually suffocating their opponents’ ambitions. 

It’s easy to see why so many teams have little enthusiasm for their trips to West Lothian. There’s a relentlessness about Martindale’s team there; if it’s not Jason Holt snapping at your ankles, it’s Joel Nouble holding off several men before motoring away up the wing like a yellow-clad Terminator. Throw in Stephane Omeonga and Scott Pittman to the mix, and it’s a potion that’s going to be enough to earn a fair few scalps this season. 

“What we did from minute one to the end of the game was fantastic,” the former West Ham man continued. “We had a plan we had been working on and collectively we were outstanding. 

“We didn't allow them a shot on target and that was the pan since the Dundee United game. 

“We don't get too high when we win and we don't get too low when we lose.

“It is just about being positive because we have shown before how we can perform.

“Hearts are a great team but we didn’t  let them play as we were on the front foot and stuck to our plan.

“That is something we need to take into every game.” 

Talking about every game - they don’t come much harder than Livi’s next one. The Lions travel to Celtic Park on Saturday, where the title holders just dismantled Rangers with the ease of a toddler left alone with some Lego (although there’s the small matter of Real Madrid in the Champions League to come for them midweek). 

Livingston were one of the few teams to take points home from the East End last season, something which Montano feels could be crucial this time around. 

“You always have to believe,” he said. “Last season we showed that at Celtic Park.

“It was difficult but we managed to grind out a point.”

Meanwhile, Hearts’ week won’t be any easier than the one that’s gone before. Dumped out of the League Cup by Kilmarnock, they toiled at Livingston and never looked like hauling back the Lions. 

On Thursday, they’ll welcome Mesut Ozil’s Istanbul Basaksehir in their first Europa Conference League group stage match, and midfielder Cammy Devlin knows they’ll get nowhere if they put in the same kind of showing. 

HeraldScotland: Former Arsenal player Mesut Ozil will visit Tynecastle on Thursday Former Arsenal player Mesut Ozil will visit Tynecastle on Thursday

“That’s not good enough when playing for Hearts,” he said. “It’s as simple as that. 

“We know that as a team. We got to bounce back quickly on Thursday. It’ll be tough opposition.

“We all grew up watching Ozil at Arsenal. He’s a class player and super excited to go toe-to-toe with him.”