David Martindale
LIVINGSTON, SCOTLAND - JANUARY 20: Livingston Manager, David Martindale gives their team instructions during the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match between Livingston and Celtic at Tony Macaroni Arena on January 20, 2021 in Livingston, Scotland. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

The title race is now over. Alright, not officially but close enough. Celtic dropped points yet again to Livingston in less than a week, and this time not even to Martindale’s first team. David Martindale rested a few of his regulars against Celtic as they have their Cup semi-final tie on Sunday against St. Mirren.

7 wins in 22 games for Neil Lennon, and I for one, am declaring this title race over. Could a miracle happen? Sure! Is it close to possible: Not a chance under the circumstances we are in currently. Have a look at the facts: Aside from the very obvious that they are not playing well, Celtic are not buying any players. If this is not a signal that their board has already decided that this campaign is done, I don’t know what is. Also, the fact that Neil Lennon is still in a job means the fallout from Dubai is still ongoing.

It sounds harsh, but the red card (deserved as elbows like these have been ignored by referees for too long) to Scott Brown probably helps Celtic with their team shape in their next game Vs Hamilton. That is a game Celtic will probably win, which keeps Lennon in his job and does nothing to solve the problems.

Rangers now have a fantastic opportunity to go 23 points above Celtic at the top of the table if they can beat Ross County at home. This should be a layup if not for the fact that the last match Vs Motherwell ended in a draw. However, keeping in mind that the Rangers players would be hurting about that, and this match is at the Ibrox, anything less than 3 points would be a huge disappointment for Gerrard. I would probably talk in more detail about the Rangers Vs Ross County game closer to the match.

It would be unfair to not talk about Livi and more specifically, David Martindale in more detail. Despite the weakened side, they comfortably held Celtic to a draw (and neither of their goals was from an offside position), and at no point did you feel that they were the underdogs. Martindale has absolutely changed the mentality of this side, and all in all, they are definitely contenders for the third spot. Even winning the League Cup is definitely within the realms of possibility.

That is why it saddened me that the future of David Martindale is at stake. We all know what he did and why he served a four-year sentence. However, now the Livi manager faces the SFA ‘fit and proper persons’ test sometime this week. Played 10, won eight and drawn 2, but now Martindale is facing an existential threat to his career.

I will admit to being a little biased, but that has nothing to do with the facts in front of us. If the people in the game who have been accused of horrible acts can continue to play a part (and I am not going to be naming them here), surely a person who has been completely rehabilitated by all accounts deserves his second chance?

I don’t know how many of you noticed that David Martindale decided to donate his Manager of the Month award for December to be raffled for local mental health charity Kick Mental Health. Many might instinctively feel that it is a PR stunt, but having spoken to people close to the man, that’s simply not the case. It was genuine.

SFA has to make the right decision here, and the right decision would be to let him continue. What a real victory that would be for all of us.

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