SPL

David Martindale rues injury to Sean Kelly as Livingston held in Kilmarnock draw

By Sports Desk December 16, 2023

David Martindale was left to rue an injury to Sean Kelly as Livingston missed a penalty in Saturday’s goalless cinch Premiership draw with Kilmarnock.

The Premiership’s bottom side failed to win for an eighth-consecutive match but picked up their first point since the victory over Motherwell on October 7.

It could have been a better day for the Lions but Bruce Anderson was guilty of missing a second-half spot-kick.

Kelly is the team’s regular taker but had to be replaced at half-time after sustaining a hamstring problem.

Martindale said: “Sean came in at half-time and said he felt his hamstring – he would have taken the penalty.

“Bruce grabbed it but your the number nine at a football club, you should be wanting to take penalties.

“Sean had missed a couple previously but I think he’d scored his last three. Sean would 100 per cent have taken it.

“We get the opportunity from 12 yards and I’m disappointed. I spoke to wee Brucey and he’s gutted.

“The wee guy lives and breathes scoring goals. You have to be disappointed he’s not hit the target, if the keeper saves it you take your hat off.

“It really sums the game up.

“To be fair, wee Brucey missed his last penalty. Your number nine is on the park so crack on.

“When you’re going through periods that we’re going through at this point, it seems that everyone is going against you.”

Martindale’s side remain five points adrift at the foot of the table and the Livi manager admitted the missed penalty left a bitter taste after recent struggles.

He added: “I thought it had nil-nil written all over it, it was one of those games.

“The fans probably didn’t realise how strong the wind was. We found it difficult to get out in the first half. They bombarded our box and it was really difficult to get any distance on the ball.

“Fair play to the players because I thought they defended the 18-yard box well.

“It’s hard. I was sitting here last week and was probably a wee bit more positive in terms of the performance. I thought we were unlucky.

“But this week after the game in the changing room there is probably a bit more adversity because you think you had those three points in the bag from 12 yards.

“Albeit we’ve stopped the run of defeats, got a clean sheet and got a point.”

Meanwhile, Kilmarnock manager Derek McInnes insisted Livingston defender Mikey Devlin should have seen red for a second-half challenge on Danny Armstrong.

Devlin was booked for the foul but McInnes feels VAR should have intervened.

He said: “It’s a terrible tackle. I don’t know why (referee) Willie (Collum) has not been asked to go to the screen.

“He (Armstrong) had to come off with the injury. It’s a scissors tackle, something we are continually told is to go out the game.

“No one wants to see red cards but it’s a terrible challenge. It’s a nasty challenge and for me it should have been a red card.

“He was labouring after it, he was hurt. If you see the tackle again, you’ll see why he was hurt.

“If Willie gives a red there, VAR isn’t getting involved to say it’s not a red. I think it is a red.”

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