SPL

David Martindale ‘delighted’ with Livingston after ending long wait for victory

By Sports Desk February 17, 2024

David Martindale insists he will not get carried away despite Livingston finally ending their long wait for a cinch Premiership victory against St Mirren.

Tete Yengi’s goal in added time of the first half was enough for the Lions to claim their first win in 18 league matches.

Livi have now cut the gap between themselves and Ross County to just three points, with the teams set to face each other in Dingwall next Saturday.

“I am happy for the group,” he said. “The group has to take massive credit and I am delighted for them.

“When you are in an adverse situation and every week that hole gets bigger, there is a lot of anxiety and stress.

“The squad and staff have stayed buoyant – they have always been positive and I am delighted for them.”

The Livi boss was thrilled by the display of his goalkeeper Shamal George, who kept out Mikael Mandron’s late penalty to secure all three points.

George has been in and out of the team since the arrival of Michael McGovern last month, but showed his quality in a man-of-the-match performance against Saints.

“Michael McGovern has been a big turning point for Shamal,” Martindale added.

“Shamal has all the ability in the world, he is a great kid, trains impeccably well and I think he needed taken out his comfort zone.

“Michael coming in has done that, it has shown Shamal that if he’s not bang at it in games then he’s probably going to get dropped.

“I thought he was the best player on the park – hopefully that’s him kicked on a bit.”

Assistant boss Diarmuid O’Carroll praised what he beleived was a “brilliant” display by St Mirren, despite falling to defeat at the Tony Macaroni Arena.

The Buddies threw everything at the Livingston goal in the second half as they looked to drag themselves back into the game.

“I thought we were brilliant, it was just one of those days in front of goal,” O’Carroll said.

“We came here with a gameplan, we wanted to get the ball down and play, try create chances, put the ball into the box and sustain attacks – they did that to the letter.

“I think on any other day we win that game based on chances, but credit to Livingston, they battled, they fought and it shows you that they are right there for Davie.”

O’Carroll confirmed that Saints boss Stephen Robinson had been involved in a disagreement with a supporter after the full-time whistle.

Robinson appeared to be led away by Alex Gogic, and his number two insists the gaffer will always stand up for his players.

“I did see it. People are passionate about the game, there’s passion from our side,” he added.

“From a fans’ perspective, you come, you pay your money and you obviously want your team to win.

“We as a collective always go over (to the fans), whether we win, lose or draw.

“People pay their money and they can say what they want – but from our point of view, we can’t ask for much more of them.”

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    Docherty’s side will clinch a cinch Premiership top-six place if they beat Aberdeen and a draw would suffice if Motherwell get a result against Hibernian at Fir Park.

    Defeat for Dundee would put off confirmation of the make-up of the top and bottom six until the game with Rangers finally goes ahead.

    The match is now scheduled for Wednesday, but alternatives are being discussed between the clubs and the Scottish Professional Football League.

    When asked what state the pitch was in following the latest call-off on Wednesday due to a waterlogged surface, Docherty said in a media conference: “I really don’t know. I’ve not been anywhere near the pitch. We are in the Gardyne training facility and that’s where I have been for the last two days preparing for the Aberdeen game on Saturday.”

    Rangers accused Dundee of “negligence” after the postponement and Hibernian are reported to have complained to the SPFL given Docherty’s side may go into their final pre-split game knowing what they need to achieve.

    The Dundee manager refused to get involved in the furore.

    “In my capacity as football manager, all I can affect is my role as football manager and it’s incumbent upon me to make sure I prepare a team for the matches that are upcoming,” he said.

    “So anything outwith that, I can’t affect other teams, I can’t comment on other teams, I wouldn’t comment on other teams.”

    When asked about the prospect of facing Rangers at a neutral venue next Wednesday, Docherty said: “There is nothing I can do about that, I can’t affect that. I can affect the Aberdeen game and that’s where my laser focus is. Nothing can distract us from that.”

    Dundee’s previous game against Motherwell was the subject of similar uncertainty and talks over alternative venues and dates before it went ahead following a late inspection last Saturday, the visitors winning 3-2 after Dundee went 2-0 up.

    Docherty said: “Of course it can be unsettling because you prepare for every game. We have had five call-offs. You prepare for every game in terms of game plan, selection of players. But players quickly move on and I quickly move on. That’s gone now, that’s in the past.

    “It’s incumbent upon me as manager to make sure there is a laser focus now towards the Aberdeen game and that’s what me, my players and my staff have got. The next game is the most important game and something that we are very focused on.

    “It’s huge testament to this group of players, as the newly-promoted team and the youngest squad in the league… Seventeen of the squad have made their Premiership debut this season, of that 11 are under 21. It’s huge testament to the group that we are a win away from that (top six) and it’s advantage us because it’s in our hands.

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  • Emma Hayes recites poetry in reply to ‘irresponsible’ call from Jonas Eidevall Emma Hayes recites poetry in reply to ‘irresponsible’ call from Jonas Eidevall

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    “I think always when you make comments about other persons, you have to take into consideration what effects that may have. That’s why you need to be, especially when you’re a leader, you need to be very good with words.

    “You need to understand the consequences of both your actions and your language and that’s why I think it’s really, really important that we treat each other with a lot of respect and that we stay at facts as much as possible and don’t get too emotional.”

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    Neither manager offered an apology, with Eidevall saying he was “very happy” with the way he conducted himself, while Hayes described a conversation with her young son about responding to aggression.

    “My son said to me after the game, ‘Mummy, when you push someone in school you’re asked to go and take time out’,” she told reporters.

    “And I said to him, ‘You know what darling, you can’t meet aggression with aggression. All you can do is tell the teacher’. I thought it was a really good conversation to have with my son.”

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    “Of course it’s not right to meet aggression with aggression. I can only control my own behaviours.

    “I’ve reflected on that and next time I just need to listen to my son’s advice and I need to go to the teacher if I’ve got anything to say.”

    On Eidevall’s branding of her as “irresponsible”, Hayes said simply: “I don’t have an opinion on it.”

    There appears no prospect of clear-the-air talks between the pair any time soon, with Hayes, who will not face any sanction for the push, adding: “We don’t play Arsenal, we don’t have each other’s telephone numbers, we’d have no reason to do that.

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    The Foxes were charged with breaching the top flight’s profitability and sustainability rules (PSR) last month in relation to the assessment period ending with the 2022-23 season, when they were still a Premier League club.

    The club issued “urgent legal proceedings” on March 22 against that charge, and against an EFL transfer embargo.

    The EFL revealed on Friday that as part of those proceedings, Leicester had sought an interim injunction preventing any sporting sanction – such as a points penalty – being imposed in the current season, with the Foxes battling Leeds and Ipswich for automatic promotion to the Premier League.

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    It said Leicester’s application for an injunction was therefore no longer necessary.

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