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Livingston - all the threads merged


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I'd say it really comes down to how you see "inconsistency", and the level of football you're looking at 

Omeonga has probably ranged from a 6/10 to a 10/10 in his time here, and incidentally he's also playing in a good Livi team full of similar players who do the sensible things well (Holt, Shinnie, Pittman especially) which tend to highlight poorer performances. 

Championship and League One era Livi - "Inconsistent" probably means players who range from 2/10 to 10/10. 

I'd probably err to the latter definition, but there's no doubt that as Livi has improved, standards and expectations improve too. 

 

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1 hour ago, Tony mac said:

Good luck to Max, often seen as pantomime villain but saved us on many occasions. We forget the was player of the month  2 if not 3 times during our horrendous start to last season, saved last minute penalty against Celtic ,tremendous save against rangers from free kick which preserved the 0-0 score in both games.

Away to Dundee early last season, the 0-0 draw, was possibly his very best performance for us. Not losing that day was very important at the time.

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I think Max was a very good keeper but his love for Mr Barleycorn was well documented. It was meant to be under control but, having seen some of the errors earlier in the season, I do wonder.

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For me Omeonga is at his best against teams with a narrower, more methodical build-up. He seems less effective against teams that tend to play it wide with wing backs and the like.

Hibs; particularly the Hibs of the first half were his ideal team; as I recall he struggled a bit against Ross County of last season when Charles Cooke was up-to-speed. Certainly any team where the midfielders like to dwell on the ball will be punished.

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1 hour ago, The Wrong Car said:

I'd say it really comes down to how you see "inconsistency", and the level of football you're looking at 

Omeonga has probably ranged from a 6/10 to a 10/10 in his time here, and incidentally he's also playing in a good Livi team full of similar players who do the sensible things well (Holt, Shinnie, Pittman especially) which tend to highlight poorer performances. 

Championship and League One era Livi - "Inconsistent" probably means players who range from 2/10 to 10/10. 

I'd probably err to the latter definition, but there's no doubt that as Livi has improved, standards and expectations improve too. 

 

Yeah that's fair enough, mozam and i just have different opinions on consistency, he's prob right and i'm just gauging it on the high standards Omeonga set earlier on, where he was unbelievably good.

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19 minutes ago, Durnford said:

For me Omeonga is at his best against teams with a narrower, more methodical build-up. He seems less effective against teams that tend to play it wide with wing backs and the like.

Hibs; particularly the Hibs of the first half were his ideal team; as I recall he struggled a bit against Ross County of last season when Charles Cooke was up-to-speed. Certainly any team where the midfielders like to dwell on the ball will be punished.

At the moment I'd say he's best on the right of a 3. Devlin and Fitzwater seem to work well together so don't need as much protection, and it leaves Kelly to play on the left and cover for Montano, something that suits his skills as a former LB. It also means Holt stays in the middle, as his use of the ball underpins the whole system.

Interesting to see if Pittman and Shinnie stay as the 'wide' options, or if one drops back into the midfield 3. 

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13 minutes ago, Durnford said:

For me Omeonga is at his best against teams with a narrower, more methodical build-up. He seems less effective against teams that tend to play it wide with wing backs and the like.

Hibs; particularly the Hibs of the first half were his ideal team; as I recall he struggled a bit against Ross County of last season when Charles Cooke was up-to-speed. Certainly any team where the midfielders like to dwell on the ball will be punished.

That's true, he's brilliant at nicking balls off opposition players taking a few seconds too long to get rid of it.

I think Martindale was pretty successful in nullifying Cook, and Hungbo, apart from the first 30 mins in that 3-2 away game where we were absolutely roasted by them, yet still managed to get all 3 pts with brilliant clinical finishing from Anderson & Bailey, and a late late winner from super sub Parkes, they rarely troubled us in the rest of our games. We had pretty tight low scoring games after that, and Cook didn't score against us in any of them. 

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13 minutes ago, LIVIFOREVER said:

Yeah that's fair enough, mozam and i just have different opinions on consistency, he's prob right and i'm just gauging it on the high standards Omeonga set earlier on, where he was unbelievably good.

... and without descending too far into "if yer auntie had baws" territory, if he maintained that level of form ad infinitum and never had a down period (of whatever length), he'd be nowhere near a Livi shirt. 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, mozam76 said:

... and without descending too far into "if yer auntie had baws" territory, if he maintained that level of form ad infinitum and never had a down period (of whatever length), he'd be nowhere near a Livi shirt. 

 

 

👍

 

Just got to enjoy players like him and Nouble while they're here, unbelievable business Martindale does finding/signing these players.

Edited by LIVIFOREVER
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Interesting comments from Martindale today. Gutted the Berahino deal isn’t going through. Sounds as if Bristol Rovers are going in for him too but with a whopping £2k per week. David was pushing the boat out at £1k but would’ve been a great deal for the club. 
 

Also hearing rumours that a few bods are looking to approach Nouble to go on Love Island next summer. Hope this isn’t true as celebrity sex house UK (or whatever the producers are calling it this year) is being filmed over a 10 day period for channel 4 during the World Cup this autumn. I could see a few of our players making an appearance on that. 

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He'd have to be some player to get into the team ahead of Nouble and Anderson, and even Anderson isn't getting into our starting XI, so don't see us signing another striker as that important. Which is funny, because during pre season and the cup games we were desperate to get another one in, but Nouble has changed things considerably in that department.

Edited by LIVIFOREVER
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Stryjek away, thank f**k. Could've seen him being a shite influence around the club if he didn't get his move. Martindale saying we'll have another keeper in for the weekend which is interesting given he was talking up Zander Clark in the same interview - no way he'd be interested in being a backup even for 6 months

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Martindale saying Nouble wont be leaving in this window, drops a hint that he rates him at 1m, potentially 2m by the end of season if he continues doing well. Says he's leaving a striker option open as there could be some good loan options from down south

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David Martindale: I’ve got baggage but I have no problem with that — I’m to blame

Livingston boss admits his drug-dealing past will always haunt him but he’s determined to carve out a bright future

Martindale savours last week’s victory over Hibs at the Tony Macaroni Arena

ALAN HARVEY/SNS GROUP

Michael Grant

Friday August 19 2022, 12.01am, The Times

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When rival fans want to verbally abuse David Martindale they select from quite a stock of ammunition. “‘You’re fat’, ‘you’re bald’, ‘you’re ginger’, ‘you’re a drug dealer’,” he says. To be fair, it’s not exactly a list of defining characteristics you would chose for your Tinder bio. “It’s pretty brutal at times but I don’t take it personally. I’m thick-skinned.”

Lately he has been called more than that. Take it as a sign of how far Martindale has come that these days some seem to regard his biggest crime as being a Rangers fan who has the audacity to take points off Celtic. In the court of social media the manager with by far the most remarkable back story in Scottish football doesn’t get credit for spectacularly punching above his weight — Livingston’s resources are about 1/60th of Celtic’s — but instead suffers primary one-level accusations that he sends his teams out to try against Celtic and lie down to the team he supports.

“This theory about ‘Davie Martindale tries harder against Celtic’, I’d love to know how you put that into practice,” he says. “Six of my players are Celtic fans.” He was born in Govan and naturally his dad first took him to Rangers. Even when he moved to live in Livingston around the age of ten he returned regularly to spend holidays with family. An aunt lived directly opposite Ibrox.

“I don’t understand why there has to be this stuff about ‘bias’. People are a product of their environment. You grow up in a housing estate in Glasgow and it’s hard to shake that. I grew up in Govan and spent most of my childhood and every school holiday there. But I’m a football fan first and foremost. There have been times when I really enjoyed watching Celtic. If anyone calls themselves a football fan and says they didn’t enjoy watching Henrik Larsson I’ll tell you they’re a liar. I used to love watching him. Shunsuke Nakamura. Lubo Moravcik. Loads of them. I loved watching their great teams.

“If an Old Firm game makes no difference whatsoever to Livingston then I would want Rangers to win. But if they’re playing each other and it affects Livingston, I want the result that benefits us. I would sit supporting Celtic if they were playing Kilmarnock and Kilmarnock were a point behind me.”

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Brendan Rodgers drew and Neil Lennon and Ange Postecoglou lost their first away games against Martindale’s Livingston (and essentially it was his team even as the assistant manager to others and power behind the throne before he took over in late 2020). There have been draws against all three of them at Celtic Park too. “We must take the plastic park with us,” he jokes, a reference to how often any good Livingston home result is attributed to their artificial surface. With a budget of only £1.4 million, the smallest in the Premiership, he remains the last manager to have inflicted a league defeat on Postecoglou’s side all of 11 months ago.

This is all humdrum football stuff, itself a sign of the reinvention of 48-year-old David Martindale. For a while he was the interview they all wanted as the convicted and jailed drug dealer-turned-football manager. Early in 2021 he spoke to journalists all over Britain and even from France and Brazil. Friends and contacts in Australia and Italy got in touch to say they had just seen him on television. Football Focus did a feature on him. “I said to the club media officer I’ll do any interview that comes in, just schedule it and tell me. I tried to be open and honest. I think I actually got to the point when the public said ‘we know this story, going to shut up talking about it’. Even I was getting bored talking about ‘Davie Martindale’s story’.”

Martindale has been open and honest about his past mistakes

CRAIG FOY/SNS GROUP

People warmed to him because he took full responsibility and made an open book of his time in organised crime. In 2004 he was arrested when a major cocaine gang was busted and then received a 6½-year jail sentence in 2006 after he pleaded guilty. He was 32. While originally on bail, he enrolled in a construction project management degree at Heriot-Watt University and crucially the university allowed him to complete that when he came out of prison. Reinventing himself continued when he began volunteering at Livingston. The club took him in and he slowly grew in influence and rank through a combination of energy, hard work, commitment and ability.

Today he is a walking advertisement for rehabilitation and second chances. Despite the inevitable shouts from rival fans he is seen by most as just another manager now, a highly-talented and meticulous coach and a respected peer of all the other bosses. Well, so it seems from the outside.

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“Maybe within Scottish football,” he says. “Not so much down south. There you’re not Davie Martindale the football manager you’re Davie Martindale the convicted drug dealer. What does everybody do when they meet somebody new? They put their name into Google. So you put me in Google and it throws up the story. That story has maybe dropped ten places now, it’s more about Livingston, but it is all still there. I’ve not got a problem with that. It’s me that made that problem.”

A phrase he uses is about still having to climb the walls he built around himself. “You can still feel it in general life. I have had offers [from other clubs] but I don’t think I’ve had a lot of offers. I’ve got baggage. I think Malky Mackay is one of the best managers I’ve come across. Malky has a little bit of baggage [from offensive text messages]. My baggage is far bigger than Malky’s and Malky still has hurdles to overcome, which I find incredible.”

Every so often he will be watching TV with Martha, the wife who stood by him through jail, and their ten-year-old daughter Georgia when a prison drama or a news item about jail will come on. “You get a flashback. I don’t really worry about things I can’t control. I can affect the future, I can’t change the past.

“I never used to see my crime as having a victim. Cocaine was synonymous with ‘Hollywood’ if that makes sense. Only when I went to prison did I realise there were actually victims. I genuinely hadn’t thought that for one minute but I saw it when I went into prison. So I regret that and of course what I put my family through. I was on bail for two and a half years and in prison for three and a half. There’s six years of your life. You’ve got to have a mental resilience to try and get through that.”

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Actually taking drugs wasn’t for him and he was only a moderate drinker but in his social circle in west Lothian — amateur football, the pub — the culture of drug use and dealing was around. “I would walk into a local pub and there would be drugs lying on the table. Machetes. Other instruments lying there. That was normal to me. People taking drugs off a table and having a bottle of Budweiser or rolling cigarettes with whatnot in them. That was just normal. I was in that environment. I think a lot of it stems from poverty. Where did my greed stem from? Probably poverty. I never really had a lot in my family life. I wouldn’t say we were poor but we definitely weren’t well off. I wanted the nice trainers. I wanted two pairs of jeans. I wanted an Adidas tracksuit. I wanted a bike. I never had a lot of those things. I got my meals and roof over my head.

“The adversity I’ve had in life is probably unique compared to most football managers and that has given me a different skillset for the job. I rely heavily on my intuition. I am very intuitive in terms of sussing players and getting the best out of them. I probably lived on my intuition for 15, 20 years. What are you doing in prison every day? You look at the people around you and working on intuition. You have to, because you are in a dangerous situation nearly every day.”

Prison life prepared Martindale for the stresses and strains of football management

CRAIG FOY/SNS GROUP

During prison visiting hours friends would tease him that he had adapted so well to jail he seemed to be enjoying it. So, so wrong, lads, when he could not be with Martha or his young son at the time, David. Close family began to mean even more as the number of visitors dwindled. “It’s only when you’re about six months into prison that the phone calls stop. The letters stop. The visits stop. And all you’ve got left is a close-knit bunch, a core of family and friends. That’s when you have a massive reset.”

At first the headlines were negative: in 2015, “Livingston FC under fire for giving coaching role to drugs crook”. The coverage changed and softened as his qualities and engaging, candid personality emerged. The media’s tone was markedly different by the time he sought the SFA’s approval as a “fit and proper person” and was ratified as manager in 2021. “I don’t think I would be sitting here today if it had been negative. I think Scotland as a country can be very positive when we need to be. We’re good at knocking people at times but when people need your help we are a good country. We want to help people. I think people from working class backgrounds can maybe relate to me slightly.”

Not only is he in with the bricks at Livingston, he laid some of them. During lockdown he was classed a key worker and could be found at the stadium with a toolbelt to help build new gym facilities. He can reel off precise figures and percentages about what different final league placings, or visiting supports, or VAR, or Uefa solidarity payments or umpteen other factors will have on the club’s budget. “I run the department. I do all the stadium management. Sometimes I go home at night with a lot on my plate and I’d love to just concentrate on the coaching side. I’d like to just be a first team manager. But I’ve got a lot of autonomy at Livingston and I think that is one of the reasons it works. If I ever did leave Livingston I would have to adapt.”

Already he is third in the list of the Premiership’s longest-serving managers behind Callum Davidson and Robbie Neilson. “That’s disappointing. That’s how society is going in general. We’re always looking for something better.” Even so, it would be only human nature if he eventually looked for something better himself. There have been three or four offers from other clubs over the years including one in the summer.

There is a highly capable manager there for any club prepared to weather an inevitable reaction to appointing him. Livingston were within 16 minutes of beating Rangers on the opening day and then took six points from Dundee United and Hibs. It suits them to be lazily dismissed as physical and basic when that does not fit with the profile of their squad nor a regime drawing heavily from sports science, nutrition and data analysis, much of the latter by Martindale. “I’m not thinking ‘I don’t know what else I can achieve at Livingston’. There is always more to achieve. Can we get European football? I would like to think so. In my mind that would be a huge achievement.

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“I owe this club so much. I know money is important but I try to take the financial aspect out of the job. I get to put my daughter to bed every day and get to take her to school. I generally sit down to have dinner with my family four or five nights a week. I am in a privileged position. I would say I am content. Only if someone phones from England one day and says we are interested in Davie Martindale would I go and speak to John [Ward, the chief executive] and Robert [Wilson, the chairman]. And only if they said ‘we think that would be good for you’ would I explore it further.

“But if my wife said she didn’t want me to go, I wouldn’t go. When times were really tough, she stood by me.”

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Excellent peice. Livi fans know about Davies past as its been well documented so many times.Davie says he owes Livi a lot and rightly so.But on the other hand we owe Davie a debt of gratitude for the amount of work he's done both on and of the park through the years.He gets on some people's nerves at times granted.But I for one love his honesty and the way he says it as it is.Hes human and I hope he continues to confound the criticism that unfairly comes his way imo.Legend.🦁👍.

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Hope to f**k he stays at Livi for a good few years to come, and that we are at least putting in place a plan for the eventuality of him leaving us. But it's a bigger job than just replacing the manager, he does so much else in the background running Livi.

Reckon he should at least stick around till we've won a major trophy, and played in Europe, after that there wouldn't be much else he could achieve for us. Hardest job though is just keeping us in the top flight, every season he manages that is an outstanding accomplishment in itself.

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Reckon Davie will eventually move upstairs in some sort of capacity. But not for a few years yet I hope.By which time he'd have fully deserved it.Both him and Scott Pitman are the epitamy of our club and will be rewarded at the end of their tenures.Thats a givin.👍.

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