Martindale a ‘huge advocate’ of increasing the size of the Premiership

The Livingston boss believes it would help the development of young players.

David Martindale a ‘huge advocate’ of increasing the size of the Premiership SNS Group

David Martindale is a “huge advocate” of increasing the size of the cinch Premiership but the Livingston boss admits the four Old Firm fixtures need to remain sacrosanct.

The issue of reconstruction in Scottish football regularly arises for various reasons and with differing potential outcomes.

Celtic and Rangers are again dominating in the league this season and former Scotland manager Craig Levein mooted the idea of the Glasgow giants moving to England and sending back £100million north of the border.

Another revamp idea reported recently is to create a new 10-team ‘Conference League’ with Celtic, Rangers, Hearts and Aberdeen B teams joined in the league by Lowland League and Highland League clubs.

Martindale spoke about the changes he would like to see to the current 12-team top flight, which has a split and which effectively means four Old Firm fixtures are available for broadcasting.

He said: “I am a huge advocate for increasing the Premiership. I thought we had an opportunity during Covid – when I sat on the Zoom calls with chairmen and chief executives – for everyone to be promoted and no one relegated. So you were bringing the SPFL up to 44 clubs.

“Is it time to look at restructuring? I think it is. Would you be blooding more players in the Premiership? I think you would.

“I would like to see 16 teams but pragmatically I think it would need to go to 14 then you could bring in your Highland League and Lowland League into that 44.

“How do we come up with a formula that suits everyone? And it will never suit everyone. How do you keep the broadcasters happy? If Livingston didn’t have the broadcasting money, we wouldn’t have the players we have got.

“The only way to do it is to keep the Old Firm fixtures and with a bigger league there would be more fixtures and where do you fit these fixtures in?

“Most seasons there are four clubs who are not going to be in and around relegation. That’s eight clubs battling to avoid relegation every year. There is a lot of pressure internally, within clubs.

“Does that hamper the development of young players because of the need for points? Probably.

“But we have to be realistic. We need the Old Firm.

“I have seen comments about the Old Firm moving on but we would lose a lot of broadcasting money. The two clubs are huge for Scottish football.

“But we need to get our heads together and look at how we keep the broadcasters happy but how we potentially increase the Premiership. It is something we should look at.”

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