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David Martindale delighted to have Nicky Devlin back after injury and Covid

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

Livingston manager David Martindale was happy to get Nicky Devlin back in action on Saturday after the full-back suffered a broken rib and punctured lung and was struck down by Covid-19 during the same week in pre-season.

After missing the Premier Sports Cup group stages, the right-back came off the bench in the 64th minute as Livi opened their cinch Premiership campaign with a 3-0 defeat against Rangers at Ibrox.

Martindale told the PA news agency: “Nicky had a punctured lung, a broken rib and caught Covid, all within a week.

“That was good just to get Nicky on the park. He missed most of pre-season.

“He went sliding into a tackle in a small-sided game and splintered a rib, which punctured a lung. He was still coming in to be around the boys and keep himself ticking over and he was one of the boys who caught Covid.

“But Nicky is a naturally fit athlete so Nicky hopefully recovers a lot quicker than others.”

Some of Martindale’s other players have been struggling to get back up to speed, with Josh Mullin among those missing on Saturday.

Livi were also without Jackson Longridge and Andrew Shinnie through injury and lost Jaze Kabia to a knee blow, which Martindale fears could rule the winger out for a lengthy period.

Kabia suffered the injury with Livi trailing to an early Ianis Hagi goal, and with all three substitutes used they lost further goals to Scott Wright and Kemar Roofe.

Other Livingston players are having to rediscover their fitness on the park.

“I really feel sorry for Craig Sibbald and Alan Forrest, I thought they performed fairly well but they are two of the boys who are coming back from Covid and they are really struggling with it at times,” Martindale said.

“I think we are going to see that. There’s some boys who get it and are double vaccinated and are brand new 10 days later and good to go.

“But those two got really hit hard with Covid and the after-effects are a lot longer than the older variant. The Delta variant has floored the boys and I can see that.”