Livingston boss David Martindale in no mood to treat Ayr lightly

Martindale doesn't see a big gulf between the divisions.

Livingston boss David Martindale in no mood to treat Ayr lightly SNS Group

Livingston manager David Martindale is adamant there is no major gulf between Livingston and Viaplay Cup opponents Ayr, even though they are a league apart.

The Lions’ home clash with the Honest Men on Saturday is one of five second-round ties this weekend in which a cinch Premiership side will meet a Championship team.

Martindale does not feel there is a significant difference in quality between the majority of teams in the top two divisions and, as a result, will not be treating second-tier promotion hopefuls Ayr any differently to how he would approach a match against a top-flight opponent.

“Yes, we’re playing a team from a league below, but I don’t think there’s a major drop-off between the divisions, if any, in terms of ability levels,” said the Livi boss.

“I would love the Scottish Premiership to be a 16 or 18-team league. If you were to put Inverness, Dundee United, Morton or Ayr – all these bigger teams in the Championship – into the Premiership, I don’t think people would be saying Livingston should be beating Ayr United.

“There’s really only three or four places between us, potentially. I don’t treat this any differently because we’re playing a team from the league below.

“We’re playing a team that are probably around our level. We are the team that will probably go in as favourites and Ayr as the underdogs, but in terms of ability I don’t think there’s hell of a lot in it.”

Scott Pittman and Bruce Anderson could be back in contention for Livingston after missing last weekend’s defeat at Rangers through injury, but Sean Kelly is still sidelined.

New signing Samson Lawal could be in the squad for the first time after the 19-year-old Nigerian midfielder joined the Lions last week on a three-year-deal from Pro Success.

“He’s still got a wee bit of work to do on his fitness,” said Martindale. “He’s a wee bit lacking in match fitness so I’ve been trying to get as many yards into his legs as possible.

“I think he’ll be a really good player for us this season. It’s just about adapting him, dipping him in and getting him acclimatised to Scottish football in terms of the intensity, the physicality and the aggression. I’ll be very careful in terms of how I use Samson but I’ve got high hopes for him.”

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