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David Martindale welcomes lack of Old Firm clubs in Betfred Cup semi-finals

Livingston FC Headshots 2020/2021- Tony Macaroni Arena
(Image credit: Jeff Holmes)

Interim Livingston boss David Martindale welcomed the Old Firm-free Betfred Cup semi-finals after the Lions’ 2-0 win over Ross County earned them a last-four tie against St Mirren.

First-half goals from midfielder Craig Sibbald and forward Alan Forrest earned victory for Livingston at the Tony Macaroni arena, while the Buddies sensationally beat Rangers 3-2 in Paisley.

St Johnstone will take on Hibernian in the other semi-final. The last-four ties are due to be played on the weekend of January 23-24, with the final scheduled for Sunday, February 28.

Martindale, the club’s head of football operations, has now won four out of four matches since taking over as interim head coach following Gary Holt’s departure.

“I’m delighted for everyone at the club, it’s brilliant,” Martindale said.

“We did what we had to do and we got a wee bit of luck with the first goal.

“The boys were in there cheering they got St Mirren. St Mirren will be cheering they got Livingston and so on.

“I think there’s a good mix and hopefully it will lead to a smaller team winning a trophy, which is great for Scottish football.

“To see their faces in there after the game, it’s a great feeling to see how happy some of these boys are.

“It’s a winnable game but it’s also a winnable game for St Mirren. All four teams will be looking at it, saying ‘it’s a decent draw’.

“It is good for Scottish football.”

A “frustrated” County boss Stuart Kettlewell was aggrieved at a series of decisions he felt went against his side such as the first goal, which was originally flagged offside, the ‘last man’ foul on Billy Mckay and the penalty claim involving Harry Paton.

He said: “I didn’t think a single decision fell our way tonight.

“We normally go on the basis of (what the) linesman’s seen so it was obviously very frustrating to concede that early goal.

“The more contentious ones we’re looking at were in the first half when Billy McKay’s clean through on goal and the player gets a yellow card.

“The explanation I’ve had is that he wasn’t in control of the ball. But we could all see that he was clean through on goal. That amazed me and it’s a big decision at that stage of the game.

“That’s come from the four officials – they’re all united in their explanation on that one.

“Harry Paton’s a pretty honest boy – we all watch him getting kicked up and down parks on a weekly basis, he takes a lot of challenges.

“He’s adamant he’s been fouled in the penalty area and again that came at a big time in the game for us.”