Livingston manager Martindale makes Celtic fatigue claim ahead of Sunday
Livingston boss David Martindale is expecting a tired Celtic side on Sunday, as says the Betis game went in his favour.
The Livi gaffer’s strange comments were made today in anticipation of the Bhoys’ trip to the Tony Macaroni.
Celtic missed some key players last night. Captain Callum McGregor was out. Liel Abada and Nir Bitton were missing, Greg Taylor needs surgery, Kyogo is out until next month, and Jullien remains out of contention.
However, Celtic will have a number of players back. What’s more, that depleted team took a top Spanish side right to the wire in Seville last night.
Nonetheless, David Martindale said the cards are stacked in his team’s favour. The Livi boss said [Daily Record]:
“Hopefully everybody has told them how horrific the park is and they are looking forward to it.
“Within these four walls, we are expecting to go and try and pick points up on Sunday.
“I have got to try and use every advantage I have got. The park is obviously horrific, which helps us.
“But, listen, they have played a hard European game. And from my point of view, the game went very well in our favour. Because it was a really, really difficult game for Celtic, albeit they were very, very good in moments of the game.
“But the way the game went, you could see they were putting a lot into the game, there was a lot of energy, and the temperature obviously [didn’t help].
“I don’t know when they travelled back. But all these factors and variables can only help us on Sunday. And we have got to try and use that to our advantage.”
Is Livingston boss David Martindale underestimating Celtic?
The fact Celtic have been tearing Scottish opposition apart, despite a gruelling fixture list, seems to be lost on Mr Martindale.
Yes, the travails of last night will have sapped energy to some degree. But it’ll be a very different-looking Celtic team that will kick off against Livingston on Sunday.
With some big players coming back, and others having had their first start in over a month, there are options within Postecoglou’s squad.
The likes of Stephen Welsh and Nir Bitton could be utilised. Abada is returning, Scales could make his debut and Jota on excellent form.
Meanwhile, Ajeti is starting to prove why Celtic spent so much on him last summer.
Of course Martindale isn’t going to sound scared in public. However, he seems to be underestimating Celtic. To a fairly large extent, no less.
You can imagine Ange Postecoglou reading these comments with a raised eyebrow as he considers his options for Sunday.