Livingston boss David Martindale made several changes to his team against Celtic – and he says that it’s brilliant preparation for their one shot at glory this weekend.
The Lions are flying at the moment, unbeaten in 10 and heading into a League Cup semi-final with St Mirren this Sunday off the back of two draws with Celtic, the latter a 2-2 affair in West Lothian.
Martindale rotated and rested players with seven changes to his team against Celtic and he’s explained why he was proud of the display: “I thought the boys were brilliant. We go a goal up and Celtic came back into the game, and we allowed them too many passes in our half and never got close enough to the ball.
“We end up going in 2-1 down at half-time, and I got into a couple of boys and they answered me in the second half. I was delighted for them. Celtic went to 10 men and I felt we were a wee bit unlucky not to win the game at that point. We should have had a stonewall penalty and I think Celtic’s second goal was offside too
“We didn’t have many chances in the first half to be honest, but they were good quality chances that we should have done better with. It’s very similar to Saturday, but I’m just delighted for the boys. We’re seeing it as a positive, but we’re a wee bit frustrated because I think we could have got a bit more out of the game.”
Now looking ahead to the Hampden meeting with the Buddies, Martindale is well aware it’s a huge occasion for the club: “There are players in there who have been professionals for 10/12 years and I can see the excitement in them approaching a national cup semi-final, players like Efe Ambrose and Marvin Bartley.
“Ambrose has maybe been more fortunate than the rest of them but even now he doesn’t shut up about it, he keeps talking about it. Marvin Bartley is into the last year of his contract next year and he is saying it could be his last opportunity to get to another cup final.
“Since the day I came into this club (I have seen) the memorabilia all about the stadium, you can see a lot of 2004, Stuart Lovell, the cup-winning captain. Taking the club to a cup final and having a fantastic opportunity to win a cup final would be unbelievable. It would be a great and a massive positive for the club.
“This year has been really tough although we have light at the end of the tunnel. For the fans to be able to embrace that and watch it on Sunday, I think it will be a fantastic occasion and I can only assume if we get to the final it would be even better for them.”
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