David Martindale cites Celtic supporters in Livingston dressing room as he hits out at "deluded" theories

By John McGinley

August 2, 2022

Livingston manager David Martindale has hit back at suggestions his Rangers supporting past is influencing the performances and results of his team in the Scottish Premiership.

Martindale has made an appearance on The Battle Fever podcast, produced by Rangers fans, going into a variety of subjects as manager of the West Lothian outfit. And he’s blasted anyone claiming his team doesn’t try as hard against the Ibrox outfit.

He said: “If anybody disagrees with what I’m saying, they’re deluded. Rangers beat us last year, and we took points off Celtic, and you get it. Do you seriously think I can go in my changing room and say, ‘don’t try today lads, I was a Rangers supporter when I was younger?’

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

“I’ve got six Celtic fans in there. Do you know what I mean? I want to beat Rangers as much as I want to beat Celtic. On Saturday, how can anyone mention my demeanour after the game or that? My pals send me the stuff. I don’t want to see it, but some of it is quite funny, I don’t go looking for it.

“How tight was the game on Saturday? But you’ve still got Celtic fans saying he tries harder against Celtic. This is me being truly honest, and probably too honest, I’m choking to take points off Rangers. It’s one of my bugbears since we beat Rangers here 1-0, I think we’ve had a draw. I don’t think we’ve done well enough against Rangers.

“It’s not for the fact I go into the changing room and say, ‘boys don’t try as hard today because it’s Rangers’. I genuinely go out there every game, whether it’s Rangers, Celtic or anyone, and I want three points. We try our best to take points from the game.”

Livingston, in fairness, did frighten the away side at the weekend. Joel Nouble got Martindale’s team in front with a fine finish. Rangers were in serious danger of dropping points until a comeback in the second half.

There will always be a lot of chatter around personalities in Scottish football. It’s a small world, and many have loyalties on each side of the Glasgow divide. Martindale appearing on a Rangers podcast is unlikely to quieten discussion around him. It’s a bit odd for an opposing manager.

Personally, if I were a Livingston fan, I wouldn’t be too chuffed. But as for Martindale’s team not trying as hard? I think that’s a lot of irrelevant noise, to be frank.

Call me naive, but I reckon the Livingston manager, Marvin Bartley and the playing squad will have far too much professional pride for that.

In other news, 7 deals Celtic could still complete in the final month of the transfer window.