Livingston manager David Martindale is hoping the underdog role will suit his side as they bid to jump back into the top six on the last weekend before the cinch Premiership split.
A run of five defeats in eight league games has taken the Lions’ fate out of their own hands and left them needing favours from other teams this Saturday.
To secure a top-six place, Livingston must win at Dundee United and hope that either St Mirren lose at home to Kilmarnock or Hibernian fail to win away to St Johnstone.
“I hope for some twists and turns this weekend because that should hopefully help us get in the top six,” said Martindale. “I think we’re the third favourites of the three teams fighting for the last two top-six places.
“Most years we’re probably the bookies’ favourite to get relegated so it probably suits us going into this weekend’s games as the underdogs.
“I can only focus on what’s within our control and that’s the Dundee United game. I can’t influence the Hibs or St Mirren result so I’ve just got to focus on trying to get three points on Saturday, as we do most weeks, and see where it takes us.”
Although Martindale’s main goal was to avoid relegation, he admits there will be disappointment in the Lions camp if they fail to make the top six.
“Our primary objective is to stay in the Premiership but this is our fifth year in the Premiership so if we don’t make top six I think internally we’ll see it as a little bit of failure because we’ve had one foot in the door for most of the season,” he said.
“The third part of the season, from match-day 23 to now, probably hasn’t quite been good enough. We’ve not had that continuity so we probably see it as having shot ourselves in the foot slightly.
“But I need to remain pragmatic and give the boys the accolades they probably deserve. We’re five points better off than we were at the same stage last year.
“I’ve seen people saying the league’s not as good as it was last year. We’re five points better off than we were last year and we’re still not in the top six so for me that makes the league more competitive this year.
“If you take the Old Firm out of it, I think it’s been more competitive from third to 12th in terms of teams picking points up.”
Martindale – who was appointed in November 2020 – takes no satisfaction from being cast as the longest-serving manager in the Premiership following the sacking of St Johnstone boss Callum Davidson last weekend.
“I think I should be looking for a new job – that tells me I’m next on the hit list,” he said. “The further up the list you go, the more precarious it becomes, especially in the Premiership.
“It’s more of a negative than a positive that I’m sitting here as the longest-serving manager in the Premiership.
“Instant success is craved now and social media plays a huge part in that. I was speaking to my staff, saying who really wants to become a manager these days because there’s a very good chance you’re going to be out of a job (quickly).”