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David Martindale proud of Livingston in defeat

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(Image credit: Jane Barlow)

Livingston manager David Martindale praised his players for taking Hearts to penalties after revealing that their preparation for the Scottish Cup last-16 clash was far from ideal.

The Lions bowed out of the competition in a 4-3 shootout loss following 120 minutes of goalless action at Tynecastle on Saturday.

Despite having to defend for long spells, the visitors arguably had the better chances in the game and Scott Pittman went close when his deflected effort came back off the post in the second half.

Although not making excuses for the defeat, Martindale pointed out that his players had to endure a nightmare journey back from Dingwall on Wednesday night after drawing with Ross County.

Martindale, whose side are two points adrift of the top six in the Premiership, said: “I’m not making excuses but we left Ross County at 10pm and it was a five-hour bus journey.

“We got stuck in traffic, there was four inches of snow, there was a lorry jack-knifed on the motorway and we were stuck in that queue for an hour and a half.

“Then the boys are getting in their houses at four or five am and we were back in training that day for massages, recovery and ice baths.

“Wee Steph (Omeonga) and Pitts (Scott Pittman) have played a hell of an amount of football, as well as wee James Forrest. The boys did more than enough to nick it in 90 minutes.”

Bruce Anderson twice went close for Livingston in the first half although Livingston goalkeeper Max Stryjek was called into action to deny Barrie McKay, Ellis Simms, Peter Haring and John Souttar during the game.

When it came to penalties Hearts were ruthless and scored through Souttar, Haring, Ben Woodburn and Simms.

Andy Shinnie, Sean Kelly and Jason Holt all found the net for the Lions before Cristian Montano struck the upright and Ayo Obileye was thwarted by Hearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon.

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson admits his players lacked a cutting edge against Livingston.

He said: “Livingston are set up really well and they let you have it and try to stifle you.

“Although we had loads of possession we didn’t have that final wee spark, the final pass wasn’t quite there, the final touch.

“All in all I can’t fault them, we managed to get into the next round.

“We’ve got a week without a game now and hopefully that gets the freshness back and we can get back to winning ways in the league.”

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