"I'm going to be a wee bit controversial"; Livi boss weighs in on Hibernian's pre-Celtic complaint

By David Walton

November 28, 2021

Livingston manager David Martindale has backed Jack Ross in his complaints regarding his team’s schedule before facing Celtic next month.

Celtic and Hibs both managed to progress through their Premier Sport Cup semi-final matches last weekend. In doing so, the 2 sides will now face each other on December 19th in what looks like being a mouth-watering battle at Hampden.

However, the last week has so far been marred by complaints over ticket allocations and the fixture schedule. Both Hibs and the Hoops have to negotiate 7 games between the semi-final and final. After today, both teams will have already played in 2 of those respectively.

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And Martindale believes it’s only right that teams in Scotland have their schedule eased at this time of year, as he backed Ross’ firm stance.

As quoted by the Record, Martindale said: “I’m going to be a wee bit controversial. I believe Jack should get a break but if he’s getting one – I want one too. I mean that in the nicest possible way. I think Jack is right, it’s a cup final. But is it any bigger than my three points? I don’t think it is.

“It’s a massive occasion for them, I get that. But we’re now playing Sunday, Wednesday, Sunday, Wednesday, Saturday. I wanted the Hibs game put back to give us a week in between. It could have been played before the Scottish Cup in January but I understand the SPFL’s concerns.”

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Hibernian, Celtic and others paying the cost of having a winter shutdown

It’s easy to forget but the Premiership goes into cold storage for 3 weeks after our new year derby against Rangers on January 2nd. Therefore, there’s going to be a substantial period of time for clubs to give their players a well-earned rest.

Is the December schedule hectic? Undoubtedly. It’s designed to be that way. Fans love a football frenzy over the Christmas period, and that’s exactly what they’re getting in Scottish football this season.

Sure, there are question marks over whether such a schedule is ideal for player performance. There are bound to be tired legs as we edge into mid-December, and that will likely lead to some surprising results.

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But that’s the entertainment factor. Fans want to see shock results over the festive period. It’s designed to be perhaps the most difficult period of the season. In truth, it’s just something that clubs need to get on with and battle through.

It’s easy to complain about when your team has struggled for large parts of the season. The last thing Ross wants, for example, is to see his team be on the wrong end of some dismal slip-ups given they’re already on a downward turn in the Premiership table.

But we’ve been beating this drum for a while now – that’s the schedule of a successful modern-day football club. We need to simply crack on with it.

In other news, Aberdeen boss Stephen Glass discusses “top” Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou