Livingston boss hails side’s strength in depth as they breeze past Kilmarnock despite making five changes

Livingston boss David Martindale joked that he deserves a pay rise following his side’s 3-1 win over Kilmarnock – because he says he’s built such a strong squad.

The win, which was highlighted by a sensational first-half display in which the Lions netted three times, sends the Lions into fourth place and keeps them firmly in contention for a first European adventure in two decades.

You are reading: Livingston boss hails side’s strength in depth as they breeze past Kilmarnock despite making five changes

The returning Joel Nouble was instrumental with a goal and an assist – nodding home the 10th minute opener before playing his part in Stephen Kelly’s wonderful finish that kissed the crossbar on the half-hour mark to make it 3-0.

Bruce Anderson’s sublime strike as he flicked a Nicky Devlin cross into the far corner was sandwiched in between.

Killie were much better after the break but failed to build on Christian Doidge’s 47th minute strike as Livi took the points.

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It was the third game in six days for Livi, having drawn 0-0 with Hearts on Sunday before suffering a 3-0 reverse at Celtic Park midweek.

And Martindale insists the squad depth is so strong at the club that he can field two entirely separate XIs.

He commented: “I have the luxury of a squad that has two starting XI’s. No matter who I play I could drop most players in the team and replace them with a like for like player.

LIVINGSTON, SCOTLAND – FEBRUARY 04: Livingston’s Joel Nouble (centre) celebrates scoring to make it 1-0 during a cinch Premiership match between Livingston and Kilmarnock at the Tony Macaroni Arena, on February 04, 2023, in Livingston, Scotland. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)

“I made a conscious decision before Hearts of having three teams and that I was going to rotate the squad. That was the biggest factor in the first-half. Derek (McInnes) probably couldn’t make the changes we could make in terms of bringing boys in.

“He had to rely on boys who’d played on Wednesday and it’s really difficult managing that turnaround. I had it in my head and made those five changes, they really helped with the game plan in the first half.

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“Whoever does the recruitment deserves a huge pay rise!”

The gaffer hailed his side’s display over the opening 45 minutes as well as the returning Nouble, adding: “The quality of the finishes, how we progressed the ball into the final third and the execution in the final third was excellent.

“These are patterns of play we work on. Get the ball in the box, wee Brucey getting on the end of it, Kelly is in the correct area for the third. I’m really pleased with the goals.

“Nouble was huge. I actually thought they snuffed him out a wee bit in the second-half hence why I tried to move him.

“They doubled up on him in the wide areas and his fitness levels were dropping but it looked like he hadn’t been away for the first 45 minutes. He was incredible, he brings so much to the team.”

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