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Livingston boss David Martindale prepared for battle against ‘new Rangers’

Livingston v Celtic – cinch Premiership – Tony Macaroni Arena
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

Livingston manager David Martindale is looking forward to pitting his wits against another high-profile manager as he prepares for Giovanni Van Bronckhorst’s first domestic match in charge of Rangers.

Livi took five points off Steven Gerrard’s Rangers during the former England captain’s spell in charge and are looking to catch the new man off guard at the Tony Macaroni Arena on Sunday.

Van Bronckhorst began his reign with a 2-0 win over Sparta Prague on Thursday to lead Rangers into the knockout stages of the Europa League.

Martindale said: “I was at the game and they were very, very good. Good on the counter-attack, changed the system slightly. I don’t want to go into too much about what I learned but subtle differences and little tweaks here and there, changed the personnel in the system.

“We are coming up against some top, top players so we need to impose our game plan on Rangers.

“But I am looking forward to playing against a new Rangers team. I know it’s not a new team but there’s different philosophies coming from Giovanni, so I am looking forward to that.

“It’s a new challenge. I think we can all agree, in Scottish football playing against each other three or four times a year, it can become a bit stale. So a new manager coming in heightens it slightly.

“When you look at Giovanni, he has had a fantastic career. Steven was a massive loss to Scottish football because the marketing and exposure Steven alone brought to Scottish football was phenomenal. Brendan Rodgers brought something very similar at Celtic.

“Giovanni has played in Scotland with a very successful Rangers team, played 100 games for Barcelona, he was captain of the Netherlands in the 2010 World Cup final. So to bring someone of Giovanni’s stature to Scottish football is fantastic.”

Former Feyenoord boss Van Bronckhorst dispensed with Gerrard’s favoured 4-3-3 system and played two wide men and an attacking midfielder behind Alfredo Morelos.

However, Martindale will not have to make major changes to his game plan.

“There will be tactical tweaks in there, but I had a strong suspicion they were going to change their shape slightly,” he said.

“You have got to adapt slightly to that but you are still coming up against the same players and Rangers have got some top players.

“We have got to try and use Rangers’ schedule of late – played on Sunday and Thursday. We will have had eight days’ rest.”

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