Livingston boss David Martindale has provided a brilliant excuse for Efe Ambrose’s bizarre miss against Celtic yesterday.
The Hoops were dealt yet another morale and title blow at Celtic Park on Saturday. Martindale’s Livi managed to produce an energetic display whilst easily keeping Celtic out as they secured a fine 0-0 draw.
Even so, there’ll be question marks amongst the West Lothian club as to how they didn’t win it. Scott Robinson came close with a second-half fizzer, whilst Josh Mullin rattled the crossbar from close-range. By far the most glaring chance, however, fell to Ambrose.
A corner swung in from the right side saw former Celt Efe get a free run at the ball. Incredibly, however, he could only skew his header way off target from only about eight yards out. It was a totally bizarre miss, and Martindale thinks he knows why he fluffed it. The Livi boss came across well as he told the BBC the following:
“I felt we could’ve had more out the game, but Celtic had a couple of chances as well. So to be honest, probably a bit disappointed we never came away with three points. It was an opportunity to play against a disadvantaged Celtic team.
“If you go through every single Celtic player on that park – their valuations are right up there. They’re very good players. I was speaking to the boys in the changing room afterward and the players were saying ‘Davie they’re decent, they’re still very decent’. They’ve got a very, very good squad. Although Celtic came into it disadvantaged.
“I think Lenny’s been texting big Efe. I think he’s bringing him back here next year! Efe had two fantastic headers, but if I’m honest I’m not surprised they went over the bar!”
Livingston boss seems a fine character, but nothing to smile about for Celtic
In terms of Martindale, he seems a terrific personality. He came out of yesterday’s game smelling of roses, and his post-match comments certainly helped him too.
You also have to credit him for consistently reminding people that Celtic were disadvantaged. He could easily have pointed to the difference in finances or continuously try to mention the fact that we had plenty of senior players available. But instead, Martindale was keen to remind everyone that we had big players missing.
In terms of on the pitch, he has an exciting team at his disposal. What was noticeable about Livingston yesterday was their energy. It’s not often we see them press high at Celtic Park. That’ll be just a taster for what’s in store for the Hoops on Wednesday night.
Let’s face it, we got away with one yesterday. Yes, a draw might as well have been a defeat given the league situation, but we were fortunate to get a point. Ambrose should’ve burst the net with his free header. Nicky Devlin also came close with a low effort late on. That’s not even mentioning the fact Efe had another decent headed chance in the closing stages.
Celtic should’ve dealt with Livingston, on our home turf, a lot more convincingly. That contest had the feeling of an old-fashioned battle against the likes of a Hearts or Hibs when they were flying. It contained a level of difficulty that we shouldn’t be willing to accept at Parkhead.
But credit to Martindale and his Livingston side. They fully merited the point they took back across the M8 with them.