JAY Emmanuel-Thomas witnessed first hand just how effective Arsene Wenger’s softly-spoken approach to man management could be during his time at Arsenal at the start of his career.
But he believes the altogether different approach taken by his firebrand Livingston manager David Martindale can produce exactly the same sort of results as “Le Professeur” enjoyed.
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Thomas helped the West Lothian club extend their unbeaten run under to 10 games on Wednesday night when he scored a second-half equaliser against Celtic at the Tony Macaroni Arena.
The English striker and his team mates were cajoled and harangued from kick-off to the final whistle by Martindale on the sidelines and picked up a point for their efforts at the end of the 90 minutes.
He is confident that sort of encouragement and passion can help the on-form West Lothian outfit to triumph in their Betfred Cup semi-final against St Mirren at Hampden on Sunday.
“Davie is a lot more vocal, a lot more hands on,” he said. “Arsene was more a mind person. He would speak with you personally, in close contact and no-one else could hear what he was saying.
“If Davie spoke to us from his office, we’d hear him on the pitch. But it can be different. Arsene Wenger was not the voice at Arsenal, Pat Rice was the voice. Each person has their voice.
“Foxy (Livingston assistant Liam Fox) has come in and he seems to be the more hands-on, speak-to person and Davie is the voice. So it’s a good balance which helps the boys.
“It’d be great for Davie to lift a trophy. He seems to enjoy it here and the boys are certainly performing for him. So I can’t see anything changing anytime soon.”
Emmanuel-Thomas added: “I have great confidence in the team right now. I had it when I first signed because I could see from the players we had that there was something there. At the moment, it’s looking very strong and teams are struggling to play against us.
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“We are creating lots of chances. We didn’t create many against Celtic on Wednesday as they are a very good side, but we still scored twice which shows that there is something there that other teams might be able to deal with.”
Emmanuel-Thomas has played in cup finals before down south and is keen for Livingston to overcome their Premiership rivals St Mirren on Sunday and experience one again.
“I played in an FA Youth Cup final at Arsenal and we won that,” he said. “I played in a play-off semi-final home and away when I went to Cardiff. We drew the first game and lost the second.
“When I moved to Bristol, we won the league and also the JPT (Johnstone Paints Trophy). We played at Wembley in the final.
“Wembley was being done up at the time and it was really fancy. There was a lot going on inside that stadium. Even to the size of the dressing room. There were like three dressing rooms in one room. I was like: ‘What is all this space for?’
“Then we went out and won it and that’s what the experience is all about. If you go to Wembley and lose, it doesn’t feel as though you’ve been there.
“When you win and the fans are there and you walk up the steps to collect the trophy, it’s a great and, hopefully, after a win on Sunday, we can get to the final and have that feeling.
“Sunday is a great occasion. Obviously, before I came here, I didn’t know a lot about the whole cup situation and going to Hampden, but I’ve now come to terms with what it means for the club and what a great occasion it would be again to reach the final. Everyone is looking forward to it.”