Soccer

Livingston boss David Martindale relieved to avoid banana skin against Ayr

Livingston manager David Martindale was content to avoid an upset as his side eased past Ayr United 2-0 and into the quarter-finals of the Viaplay Cup (Steve Welsh/PA)
Livingston manager David Martindale was content to avoid an upset as his side eased past Ayr United 2-0 and into the quarter-finals of the Viaplay Cup (Steve Welsh/PA) Livingston manager David Martindale was content to avoid an upset as his side eased past Ayr United 2-0 and into the quarter-finals of the Viaplay Cup (Steve Welsh/PA)

Livingston manager David Martindale was content to avoid an upset as his side eased past Ayr United 2-0 and into the quarter-finals of the Viaplay Cup.

The Scottish Premiership hosts earned an early breakthrough courtesy of Joel Nouble’s 12th-minute opener and Cristian Montano’s second-half strike booked their place in the hat for the last eight.

With Premiership sides elsewhere in the draw being pushed all the way by lower-league opposition, Martindale was happy to avoid a potential banana skin.

He said: “You only need to look at other games to realise how difficult these games are.

“I don’t think there’s a lot between the bottom six of the Premiership and the top six of the Championship.

“In any game of football you take result over performance, although you want both obviously.

“In the first half I don’t think we were great at all. But in the second-half I thought we were a lot better.

“The park was a bit sticky and I don’t think it helped the game that much.

“But we’re in the next round and scored two goals. The clean sheet is the big one for me and gives us momentum.”

Martindale has admitted he was forced to deliver a motivational half-time team-talk after watching his side struggle to build on Nouble’s early opener.

He added: “I think the early goal had an adverse effect on us, we sat off Ayr a bit after that.

“I wasn’t happy about how we were letting Ayr build from the back.

“I went in at half-time and had a wee bit of a nibble at the players. I think they reacted in the second half.”

Ayr United manager Lee Bullen believes Livingston’s clinical finishing and his own side’s inability to make the most of their chances settled an otherwise nip-and-tuck tie.

He said: “I was more pleased with the performance this week than I was last week when we won 1-0.

“Livi are a tough opposition, very strong and very, very well organised. The only difference between the two teams overall was in the two boxes.

“They had two chances and were clinical. In between both boxes it was much of a muchness. It was a heck of a battle.

“In the Premiership they’re going to be more ruthless than the Championship and that was the case.

“But we stood up to it well and I think we’ll be all right this season.”