Martindale insists expanded top-flight would help improve standard

Martindale was reacting to comments from Derek Adams criticising the standard of the top-flight.

David Martindale believes a bigger Premiership would help improve the product on the park as clubs would be under less pressure to avoid relegation every season.

The Livingston boss was reacting to comments from Derek Adams who blasted the standard of the league and says it pales in comparison to the lower leagues down south.

Martindale disagrees with the Ross County manager and insists the top flight is more competitive than ever outside the top two.

But he does feel a league expansion would help managers implement their own style of play and give them a bit more job security.

He also says playing the teams up to five times a season can hinder the product on the park as clubs get to know each other “inside out” and points to the Championship as proof there is enough quality throughout the country to introduce more teams into the Premiership.

Speaking to the media on Monday ahead of their game against Aberdeen on Wednesday he said: “I think the league in terms of the standard has become a lot more competitive outside of the top two, even when you look at Hearts result on Saturday you could say that’s not necessarily true.

“But I don’t think there’s much between all the teams in the league outside the Old Firm. I thinks it’s been a really competitive league, there’s a lot of teams playing different styles of football, I feel there’s a more 3-5-2 feel to it.

“That then for me make the game a little bit more direct at time, more long balls and it’s difficult. I think a lot of managers are under a lot of pressure and I’ve been very outspoken, and I’m not just saying this because we are sitting 12th in the league, I think the size of the league hampers also.

“I think if there was less pressure in terms of relegation and what that means to a club’s finances, you’d maybe see a different approach.

“I would think the culture of hiring and firing lends itself to short-term results, so I think by doing that the game becomes a bit more risk averse, in terms of what we are trying to do.

“And with that the game becomes a bit more direct and then maybe at that point the product drops in part because the game becomes a bit more risk averse.

“So that’s my take on whether we are sitting at the top of the league or the bottom of the league, top six or bottom six, that’s my take on it and I’ve been quite vocal about that and I think a bigger league would take a bit of pressure of managers at the bottom end of the table.

“I think we have more that enough quality throughout Scottish football, if you look at the Championship, to have a bigger league.

“I think the games can become a bit mundane three or four times a season, then add cup football into that and you can be playing the same team five times a season and you know each other inside out.

“So does that help the product? I would hand on heart say I don’t think it does, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say that the product on the park isn’t great as I think it’s a very competitive league this year.

“And when we get a competitive league it’s easy to knock the product on the park, whereas if you look at previous seasons, particularly in the Championship, it’s seen as a positive.

“Bot now when we are looking at how competitive this league is outside of the Old Firm then it is suddenly perceived as a negative.

“I’m not really on that boat, but I feel the league has become harder this year, I’ve felt it. But I do think a bigger league would help as well.

“And it would help bring a wee bit of job security for managers if I am honest.”

Livingston currently sit bottom of the league after seven defeats in a row and only one win from their last 14 games.

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