Martindale doesn’t buy into the narrative that Celtic are out of form

The Livingston boss knows his side face a hard game in the Scottish Cup.

Livingston manager David Martindale is reading little into Celtic’s latest slip-up ahead of their Scottish Cup quarter-final at Parkhead.

Celtic missed the chance to go back top of the cinch Premiership on Sunday when they lost 2-0 against Hearts following a 16th-minute red card for Yang Hyun-jun at Tynecastle.

It was the third time in six league matches that Celtic had dropped points but they won their most recent home game 7-1 against Dundee and Martindale is braced for the toughest of challenges from Brendan Rodgers’ side.

“They were playing with 10 men for the majority of the game,” Martindale said of Celtic’s defeat at Tynecastle.

“I’ll take an early sending-off for them but I don’t think you can read too much into that game. It’s difficult, we played Celtic here this season with 10 men and they still beat us 3-0.”

Celtic will be without skipper Callum McGregor and Reo Hatate from their midfield as the pair nurse lower-leg injuries.

Martindale said: “I hope Callum makes a quick recovery because you want to see the best players playing, obviously with Scotland coming up.

“Callum is an outstanding talent but I mean this in the manner it should be meant, I’d be delighted if he wasn’t on the team sheet.

“It’s disappointing from a Scotland fan’s point of view but from a Livingston point of view it’s a positive. I also think Hatate is a huge player for Celtic.

“But I hear they are not on form – they are two points off the top with two Old Firm games to go. So I’m not really buying into that narrative.

“They have a top manager, they are a top club, and it’s going to be a difficult game of football.”

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