Martindale warns Livingston do not have ‘divine right’ to overachieve

Livingston currently sit second-bottom of the Premiership table.

David Martindale warns Livingston do not have ‘divine right’ to overachieve SNS Group

David Martindale is unfazed by the sight of his Livingston side sitting second-bottom of the Premiership because he begins every season prepared for the possibility of a relegation battle.

In their five previous seasons since returning to the top flight, the Lions have generally kept themselves well clear of the bottom two despite having one of the lowest budgets in the league.

But three defeats on the spin have left Martindale’s team in 11th place, three points ahead of St Johnstone, who made an unsuccessful move to recruit the Livi boss earlier this week.

Asked if he was concerned about his team currently being in the relegation play-off spot, Martindale said: “Not really because if you look at the difference between second bottom and fifth, it’s one win, three points. I think it needs to be put in perspective.

“I don’t really get caught up in league positions. I’ve been at Livingston for 10 years (in various capacities) and we’ve been in relegation battles for about eight of them.

“The only year I can hand on heart say we weren’t threatened by relegation was the League One days.

“Even the first two years in the Scottish Championship, all we were trying to do was stay in the league.

“The first year we stayed in by the skin of our teeth and then we got relegated. This is our sixth year in the Premiership and every year is a relegation battle (to start with).”

Martindale, whose side visit Dundee on Sunday, admits his team’s objective in the short term is to ensure they stay “in touching distance to everybody else”.

He added: “I think people need to be pragmatic in terms of just because we have overachieved previously, it doesn’t mean we have a divine right for that to happen every year.

“It’s a tight league this year. There’s three points between fifth and 11th, four points between fourth and 11th, and six points between fifth and 12th.

“If a team shows a bit of consistency and picks up two or three wins on the bounce, it can change the whole look of the table.

“For us, it’s about staying in touching distance to everybody else and trying to find a bit of consistency, which is the hardest thing to do in this league when there are at least eight teams who are all more than capable of taking points off each other on any given match-day.”

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