David Martindale: Clinching Betfred Cup final spot will have no bearing on SFA hearing

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DAVID Martindale steered Livingston through the Betfred Cup final tonight just over a month after being appointed manager on a permanent basis with a hard-fought 1-0 win over St Mirren at Hampden.

A first-half Scott Robinson goal was enough to extend the West Lothian club’s remarkable unbeaten run under Martindale to 11 games and send them through to a meeting with St Johnstone at the national stadium on February 28.

However, the 46-year-old, who was jailed in 2006 after being found guilty of drug trafficking and money laundering, admitted his success since taking over from Gary Holt will have no bearing on his SFA “fit and proper person” hearing tomorrow. 

“I have my Zoom call meeting at 10.30am on Tuesday morning,” he said. “I don’t know when they will make their decision from that meeting.

“To be honest, I do not think anything I have done externally is going to help it. It is down to the government body. I don’t think they will take results into the equation.

“I hope they do! Surely it will mean I will get passed. But I can’t see it affecting the decision.” 

Livingston endured some anxious moments towards the end of the semi-final encounter as St Mirren pushed for a late equaliser and Martindale admitted he was relieved when the final whistle blew.

“That (injury-time) was the longest five minutes of my life,” he said.  I’ve been in some sticky situations! That tells you everything.

“It was horrible. At Livingston you’ve not got the big screen with the minutes and I actually think that helps you and sometimes it helps the players. But here I kept looking up at the screen and it’s saying 88 minutes. Then I’m sure I looked back up and it said 86 minutes.

“As soon as you see the 90 minute mark I kept asking the fourth official ‘how long, how long, how long’. So it was a long five minutes at the end.”

Martindale added: “I’m tired, but I’m delighted and for everybody at the club, for the fans, the board, the players. I’m so happy for them.

“I thought the boys were brilliant, they defended their box very well. To be honest, it was very similar to the two previous games against St Mirren, albeit in those we were the team chasing the goal and St Mirren were the ones defending. So this one sort of flipped from the previous two.

“It says a lot for my players. We changed the shape slightly in the second half and St Mirren started playing a lot of long balls and that’s right up our street. That’s what the boys are good at, they’re good at defending their box and winning headers and long balls.

“The boys make managers, players make managers. They make my job fairly easy. It is all positive. It means the world to us. I am delighted for the boys in the changing room, there’s a lot of boys who have not been to cup finals.

“Obviously, we have Efe Ambrose and Marvin Bartley who have tasted success previously, we are a fairly young team and I am just made up for them.”

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