David Martindale knows he must try to outfox “one of the best managers in the Premiership” if his struggling Livingston side are to halt their seven-game losing streak against Kilmarnock.
The Lions have slipped five points adrift at the foot of the table – albeit with games in hand on several of the teams above them – after failing to pick up a point since their 2-0 win at home to Motherwell more than two months ago.
Martindale admits it will not be easy for Livi to stop the rot when they host a Killie side sitting fifth under Derek McInnes and buoyed by their 2-1 win at home to league leaders Celtic last weekend.
“I think Derek’s done an unbelievable job,” said the Lions boss. “He’s spent his budget very well. He’s had two or three windows to get his identity in the team.
“I’ve said ever since he was at Aberdeen and even after he left Aberdeen, he’s one of the best managers in the Premiership and I think he’s again shown that with his Kilmarnock team.
“Against Derek, you always get a difficult game of football. He knows the league inside out and he always has his team extremely well-drilled.
“He went through a period of adversity last year and he kept Kilmarnock in the Premiership and now look what he’s doing this year. Two wins over Celtic and one over Rangers, that shows you the skill-set of the manager.”
Despite the contrasting form lines of the two teams, Martindale is adamant Livingston are capable of defeating Kilmarnock.
“I don’t care who’s coming here, we’re going out to win,” he said. “I’m sitting here lauding the achievements of Kilmarnock but we’ve been there in previous seasons.
“Our job on Saturday is to take three points and I think we’re more than capable of doing that but I’m under no illusions how hard that’s going to be.”
Martindale is confident Livingston will snap out of their malaise and spark an upturn.
“Every year we go through a similar run at some point,” he said. “Would I rather have had the points on the board and then gone through this at the tail end of the season? Probably.
“That’s generally what’s happened in the past. But my belief is that we’ve got enough to keep this club in the Premiership.”
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