David Martindale: Livingston respect Celtic rather than fear them
David Martindale insists there is no fear factor in Livingston ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Celtic Park.
Ange Postecoglou’s in-form Hoops are nine points clear of Old Firm rivals Rangers at the top of the Cinch premiership and on course to retain the title with a national treble still a realistic prospect.
Livingston himself is six-game unbeaten and fourth-place, which helps Martindale’s conviction, although he could have no more respect for the champions, who have won both meetings this season.
Martindale said: “I’m not scared at all and I don’t think the players in the dressing room are scared.
“I don’t think it’s a fear factor.
“For me, it’s more respect than fear. You give them the respect they deserve, especially in this moment.
“There were some big teams that went to Parkhead and fought.
“Look at the Real Madrid game, I thought Celtic were incredible for 60 minutes and just an inch away from taking the lead with Callum McGregor’s shot (he hit a post before going to a 3-0 loss slipped).
“It’s more respect than fear and that’s how I see it.”
Martindale is open and honest about how he will try to stop a relentless Celtic side who have won all 11 home games in the league, with just one Premiership defeat this season.
He said, “I’m not going to sit here and tell lies. When I go to Parkhead it’s about containing them and then you manage the game within the game.
“I’m not going to Parkhead and saying, ‘I’m going to be really offensive, open, play five offensive players and go toe-to-toe,’ that would be career suicide.
“Your budget is 40 to 50 times our budget, so you can’t go toe-to-toe. So I have to come up with a plan.
“Look at Atletico Madrid, look at some of the best teams in the world, look at the World Cup.
“There were many teams that were set up in a similar way. I think Atletico built every game like that.
“The boys are not stupid, they understand football. You made it yourself here at home. In games we’ve won we’ve lined up very similarly, we’ve just carried a bigger threat because they’re the home team.
“Football is made up of many different variables and there are different ways to win football games.
“I have to find a way to win this football game and the lads like to roll up their sleeves and try to take points from Celtic at Parkhead and Rangers at Ibrox.
“These are big games in Scottish football and the lads love to play in them. I don’t have to believe them because they believe themselves. Historically we have.
“Last year we took three points from Celtic at home and a point at Parkhead. Ange was the manager at the time.
“It’s been very difficult to get points since then, but the belief is there because the story is there, so why can’t we do it again?”