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David Martindale calls for ‘open dialogue’ between managers and referees

DAVID MARTINDALE has backed calls for a collective dialogue between managers and referees after being moved to contact the Scottish FA following Livingston’s fiery victory over Aberdeen at the weekend.

Martindale got in touch with the governing body’s head of referees Crawford Allan in the wake of a 2-1 win in which the Lions received eight yellow cards and one red card for Cristian Montano.

Four Aberdeen players were also cautioned on a busy afternoon for whistler Kevin Clancy.

Martindale said after the match that he ‘couldn’t get his head around’ Clancy’s display and questioned whether tackling was now banned in modern football.

In an attempt to understand the decision-making, the Almondvale boss has since held discussions with Allan but has confessed that he realises he must be a ‘pain in the a***’ for officials.

However, backing Hearts counterpart Robbie Neilson in his claim that referees seem to want managers to be robots, he also agrees that the wider conversation suggested by League Managers’ Association chairman Billy Brown could be positive.

He said: “I think maybe just having the open dialogue can help.

“I can imagine I must be a pain in the a*** for the referees, I know I am. So, even them saying, ‘look, you can be difficult to manage’ I’ll take that on board.

“I put them under a lot of pressure and I think the intensity and the physicality of the Scottish Premiership makes it a difficult league to referee in. With the pace of the game and the tackles flying in, it’s not an easy league to be an official.

“So, I think just having a dialogue with one another, even if we get one per cent out of it then we’re going to be better off.

“The biggest one for me is your gestures. They say, ‘stop gesturing’, but how can you do that?

“Unless I’m doing an insulting gesture, throwing your hands in the air at a refereeing decision, how can I stop myself doing that?

“I’m not saying you do it for the fans but do you really want to be watching games of football where there’s no emotion and no gestures?

“I’ve seen fans questioning managers and saying, ‘he stands there with his hands in his pockets’. That’s definitely not me.

“Opening dialogue with one another can’t make the situation any worse. I’m not saying it’s a terrible situation but it’s got to help the situation, surely.”

Meanwhile, Jason Holt reckons Livingston are one of seven teams battling for the remaining top-six spots ahead of tonight’s trip to face Ross County in Dingwall.

Martindale insists his side should still be concerned by the prospect of getting dragged into a relegation battle, but Holt reckons Saturday’s victory over Aberdeen is proof they are on the up.

The Lions are just a point off Dundee United in sixth and four points shy of Motherwell in fourth after just three defeats from their last nine league games.

The former Rangers and Hearts midfielder said: “The league is so tight right now and everyone can beat everyone else. This season it’s so competitive.

“There’s seven teams in there battling for the top-six and consistency will be the key going forward.

“It was frustrating to lose to St Johnstone after beating Hibs at Easter Road.

“We were high in confidence but we lost. But we managed to bounce back against Aberdeen and we showed a good reaction on Saturday.

“It shows how far we have come when we are disappointed to take six points from nine in the last three games.

“Since I have been here the squad has always been so strong and we have a good togetherness.

“Those characteristics can take you a long way and we have to look to continue that for the rest of the season, and hopefully we can stay at the top end of the table.”

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