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David Martindale wants Scottish football referees to soften their approach

Livingston v Celtic – cinch Premiership – Tony Macaroni Arena
(Image credit: Steve Welsh)

Livingston manager David Martindale believes Scottish football should follow the English Premier League’s lead and reintroduce a more lenient approach to tackles.

Livi were reduced to 10 men at Motherwell last weekend after Dylan Bahamboula received two yellow cards from Nick Walsh for what appeared to be fairly innocuous fouls.

The forward was booked after colliding with Blair Spittal from behind when the Motherwell midfielder ran across him and then sent off after raising his boot when going in for a bouncing ball with Sean Goss.

“I think it was two really, really, really soft yellow cards,” said Martindale, whose team have picked up seven of the 105 yellows and one of the 10 red cards in the Premiership’s first four rounds of fixtures.

“I have looked at the stats, we have software packages that give us these stats. It seems to be that nearly every single tackle a Livingston player makes is a yellow card.

“I don’t think every tackle is a yellow card. Albeit there is probably a case you could argue that the two for Dylan are yellow cards. I can’t have any complaints because Dylan has got to watch what he is doing going in for the second challenge.

“But if you look at the English Premier League at this point, they are letting a lot more go this season. They are letting the game go, tackles have a bit more intensity, and not everything is getting stopped, not every tackle is a yellow card.

“And for the spectators, I think it has added to the flow of the game, which then adds to the product. I think we have got to be a little bit smarter because not every one is a yellow card.”

Martindale had further reason to be frustrated at Fir Park after losing the game to a penalty for handball against Cristian Montano before footage showed the ball had struck the full-back’s chest.

The penalty award was one of many contentious issues on a weekend which saw six red cards across the six games.

Rangers midfielder John Lundstram this week got his dismissal rescinded on appeal – Bahamboula does not have that pathway for two yellow cards – and Ross County players Jack Baldwin and Ross Callachan were handed retrospective red cards for challenges.

VAR is due to be introduced into the Premiership after the World Cup but Martindale is keen for the process to be expedited.

“Our one is outrageous,” he said. “He has got it totally wrong. It’s nowhere near the player’s arm.

“I have been quite vocal on this, the quicker we get VAR the better. And I think you could probably say that for the full of Scottish football last weekend.

“There was a lot of contentious decisions and I think VAR is going to help us get more of them right than we are getting wrong because it was a disappointing week for the Premiership in my opinion for the standard of refereeing, and I think they need help.”

Meanwhile, Livingston striker Bruce Anderson is set to miss Saturday’s trip to Aberdeen with the minor ankle injury which ruled him out at Fir Park.

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