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Football: It's hard living in a loan star state; Dunfermline 2 Livingston 2 BHOY DAVID ADMITS DOUBT OVER FUTURE IS MESSING WITH HIS MIND.

Byline: KENNY ROSS

DAVID Fernandez hopes he will find out soon where his immediate future lies.

The Spaniard - superb in a 30-minute spell on Saturday - could be helping Livvy make a bid for a UEFA Cup place.

Or he could be back at Celtic Park, where he rarely played after being signed for pounds 1m in the summer of 2002.

Fernandez returned to Livvy on loan in September in a deal which gives Celtic the choice this month to call him back - or extend the loan until the end of the season.

Fernandez wants to know - and the quicker the better. He saidd: "Sometimes it's hard to be focused when your mind is in another place.

"When it is in your hands to play because you know you're are going to play, that's all the difference.

Sidelines

"It's all about yourself. You say: 'I have to do that because it is in my hands. It is not in another's hands'.

"So that is the difference. It is just mental. It is nothing to do with your football or your ability."

Fernandez is 28 later this month and he knows time isn't on his side.

But after spending most of last season in the Celtic reserves and the last month on the sidelines at Livvy with a hamstring strain, he just wants to play.

So after his superb cameo cameo role at Dunfermline, Fernandez diplomatically expressed his desire to return to Celtic Park - if he is to be a first-team regular.

The former Deportivo and Airdrie man said: "My real point of view is to try to play at Celtic because every player wants to play at a high level. That's why I am here - I want to do that again.

"I did it two seasons ago but things weren't the best for me over the last two seasons. I need to play because two years in a row without any games everybody forgets about you.

"Sometimes you have to take a step back to take two forward. This for me is not a step back. I am really happy to stay here but if Celtic want me I am really happy to stay there.

"It is up to Celtic - not to me. I don't think it is going to be up to Livingston either. It's not in my hands so I just try to do my job here and try to play as much as I can. The only thing I want to do is play football and enjoy myself."

Livvy boss David Hay said talks would take place at boardroom level but added: "I'd imagine that Celtic's result against Rangers might mean we keep him."

The ability of Fernandez is not in doubt and he could drag Livvy up from mid-table.

Admittedly they were doing well without him initially at East End Park when the excellent Lee Makel crossed for David McNamee to shoot home a great opener after 15 minutes.

Livingston were in control until a crazy handball by Oscar Rubio allowed Barry Nicholson to give lacklustre Dunfermline - without Scott Thomson, Scott Wilson and Craig Brewster - a barely deserved equaliser before the break.

Hay put on Fernandez in a three-man front line after the hour and within minutes his inch-perfect pass allowed Makel to burst into the box and put the Lions ahead again.

And the English midfielder could have sealed the game, but his free-kick hit the post.

Level

Pars boss Jimmy Calderwood put on Noel Hunt to form a four-man attack and the Irishman's flick set up Stevie Crawford for the 80th-minute equaliser.

Calderwood was left cursing a sloppy first half while Hay was happy with another away point.

The draw leaves the Pars level with Hearts while Livvy are in sixth place - seven points off third place.

Difficult but not impossible, Fernandez reckons, especially if an organised, compact side can confidence from stringing together a couple of wins.

He said: "Right now there's a gap between us and third spot but obviously we have the chance and the quality to do it.

"We haven't won two games in a row since I can't remember.

"When we achieve that I think everything will be different."

Whether Fernandez will be there to help make the change will be decided in the next few days.ATTENDANCE: 5,155

MAN OF THE MATCH: Lee Makel

CAPTION(S):

LOAN STAR: Fernandez bursts through at Dunfermline; MAK-ING A DIFFERENCE: Lee Makel after scoring for Livvy
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 5, 2004
Words:744
Previous Article:Football: Vale team Toon link; Bell's Division Three.
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