Livingston manager David Martindale hails defensive effort following cup win

Ayo Obileye’s first-half penalty earned victory over Ross County.

By Press Association Published: 22 January 2022 - 6.30pm

Livingston manager David Martindale praised his team’s defensive effort after an Ayo Obileye penalty took the Lions into the last 16 of the Scottish Cup following a tight game with Ross County.

The defender scored after 16 minutes following a foul by County centre-half Declan Drysdale on Bruce Anderson.

The visitors dominated large spells in the second half but Alex and Dominic Samuel both wasted good headers, while Blair Spittal had a low drive saved by Max Stryjek.

Martindale felt his side should have done much better going forward but was delighted to see them claim another clean sheet at the other end.

He said: “I think Ross County dominated large spells of possession in the second half but I thought we had the better chances.

“We had four or five counter-attacks in the second half and we have to do so much better.

“It was as if we were looking for the perfect pass.

“We defended our box really well in the second half, Max had a save and the only other one was the header.

“I was reading a stat and that’s 22 clean sheets from 55 games. At a club our size, and I mean this in the nicest possible way, I think that’s pretty phenomenal, pretty phenomenal that you’ve got a goalkeeper that’s doing that.

“I remember when we had Liam Kelly it was similar. That comes from the unit that’s in front of you.

“It’s a foundation to work on and that’s the objective to work on. If you can get a clean sheet you will always create chances.

“It’s cup football, the objective before the game was to make sure you’re in the hat for the next round.”

County manager Malky Mackay made six changes to the team for the trip to West Lothian and admitted he was down to the bare bones through injury, with five of his seven outfield players on the bench not fit enough to come on.

He said: “To be absolutely clear, the team was absolutely no disrespect to the Scottish Cup or Livingston. What we played was what we had left.

“Six of the nine on the bench were not fit to come on the pitch. We had two outfield players left, which was Jordan White and Harry Paton and they both came on.

“We took some heavy hits on Tuesday evening and we also had a suspension.

“We had 14 we could play, so I filled the bench with the rest of them to make it look as if it was viable.

“It was no excuse – because we were beaten fair and square.

“We will give them another four or five days to see if they are available for the middle of the week. But there are certainly a few who won’t be available for that either.”

BT Sport Monthly Pass

Join the home of live sport for just £25 per month. Get instant access to the BT Sport app, with no contract and no BT broadband required.