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David Martindale worried Livingston will lose momentum after prolonged absence

Celtic v Livingston – cinch Premiership – Celtic Park
(Image credit: Robert Perry)

David Martindale feels it will be a major task for his Livingston team to maintain their momentum against St Mirren after three weeks without a game.

But the Livi boss fears bigger challenges await in December following the postponement of their game against Hibernian.

The West Lothian side last played on October 30 when they held Celtic to a goalless draw to make it four games unbeaten.

“I try and take every game in isolation but momentum is key and you lose a wee bit of momentum with the three-week break if I’m honest,” Martindale said. “The good thing is everyone else has had two weeks.”

Hibernian’s Covid-19 issues saw two of their games postponed and Martindale had sympathy for Jack Ross and his squad after having to shut the Tony Macaroni Arena down in the summer for the same reason.

But Martindale is frustrated that the Scottish Professional Football League ordered their game to be rearranged for December 8, meaning Livi will play nine times from November 28 to January 2.

“I genuinely can see their point but I don’t agree with it,” Martindale said.

“Generally you used to get a phone call and the two clubs would come to some kind of date. You had three or four dates in your head and you would roughly try to agree on one and go back to the SPFL. The SPFL would say ‘right, not got a problem with that’.”

Martindale knows league officials were keen to avoid a fixture backlog amid the uncertainties of the pandemic.

“But five games in 14 days, I don’t care what anyone says, I don’t think that helps the players’ wellbeing, I really don’t,” he said.

“It leads to muscle injuries. I don’t think it helps with the product on the park. And I don’t think it helps sporting integrity when we are going into a fifth game in 14 days.

“It’s very, very difficult to keep squeezing your squad at that point. I don’t think it’s a level playing field.

“How can we not come back three or four days early from the winter window? That would be my preferred option. Or throw it in midweek in January?”