Why is Livingston boss David Martindale not in the running for other top jobs? Nicky Devlin believes he should
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Martindale admitted to Sunday newspapers that past misdemeanours away from the game – he spent four years in jail – mean he will often be overlooked when other jobs come up, but the 48-year-old is happy enough to get on with it.
Martindale’s name does not appear high up on many bookmakers’ lists of candidates to take over from Jim Goodwin at Aberdeen, for example, even though he has guided Livingston to two top-six finishes and seventh place last season in the Scottish Premiership on a shoestring budget.
“If you look at it from a results point of view, how he has taken a club that shouldn’t be able to compete in the top six and made sure we are competing in the top six nearly every season, then I think it is hard to argue that he shouldn’t be one of the front names for these jobs,” said Devlin.
“Potentially, what has happened in the past is going against him, but he’s our manager and the longer he can produce results for us and keep us fighting where we are, the better it is for us individually and for us as a club. We hope that other clubs don’t pick up the phone and enquire about him, but if you win games it is going to come.”
Devlin joined the club from Walsall in July 2019, and the 29-year-old right-back has seen for himself the job Martindale does. He’s not just first-team head coach but runs the club from top to bottom, getting involved in roles not normally part of a manager’s day job. But Livingtson are not as well resourced as others. They have to live within their means and Martindale is central to it.
“He’s the main factor at a club who shouldn’t compete where they are and they are competing where they are every year,” added Devlin. “If we keep getting results people are going to be interested in the manager. The league finishes, the cup performances. He’s going to be talked about for bigger jobs.”
Livingston, who travel to Celtic Park on Wednesday, are unbeaten in six after a bright start to 2023 and just seven points behind Hearts in fourth, with a game in hand. Continuity and consistency have been central to Livi’s form this season, Martindale having assembled the strongest squad he has had in the four-and-a-half years they have been back in the Premiership.
“The number of players of good quality is as good as it’s been since I joined the club,” Devlin agrees. “We go from week to week and usually there are changes and it doesn’t really affect us too much. That’s testament to the management team. They are able to bring players in and no matter who plays it’s going to be the same Livingston.
“We’ve been without Joel Nouble since the winter break and we’re six unbeaten. I don’t think many people would have given us a shout to do that without him because of how important he is to us. We’ve found a way. Other players have come in and the quality has stayed the same.”