DAVID Martindale last night vowed not to let losing the Betfred Cup final to St Johnstone damage Livingston’s bid to secure a European place this season.

Martindale’s side conceded a Shaun Rooney goal in the first-half of a tight game at Hampden yesterday and were unable to get back on level terms. 

However, the West Lothian outfit are currently in fifth place in the Premiership and have a chance of securing a spot in the second qualifying round of the Europa Conference League. 

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Their manager, who was only appointed back in November following the resignation of Gary Holt, is determined not to let the painful loss derail their campaign.

“When you lose a cup final you are going to be bitterly disappointed,” he said. “But I think you have to be positive in defeat and all credit goes to St Johnstone. They defended their box far better than we defended our box at times. 

“There was a chance for Josh Mullin. But I can’t really remember us putting Zander Clark under too much pressure to be honest. I could probably say that for both teams. I don’t think Robby (Livingston goalkeeper McCrorie) had too much to do other than pick the ball out of the net.” 

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Martindale added: “I am disappointed, but I’m not going to let it affect me. You can’t change the past, it’s gone. I will self-reflect and see what I could have done better. It will not define my season. 

“We’ve still a massive amount of football to play and a fantastic opportunity as a club to push for the top six and try for a European slot. 

“It’s definitely not going to define my season and I can guarantee you I’ll not let it define the boys’ season. I’ll not let it affect the season. I will not let those boys dwell on this. I’m not going to dwell on it.

“This could go one of two ways.  We could finish in the top six or finish seventh or eighth. I won’t take anything from it until we get to the end of the season.” 

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Martindale absolved Jon Guthrie, who allowed St Johnstone right back Rooney to get on the end of a Craig Conway corner and head beyond McCrorie, from any blame for the loss.  

“You have to give big Shaun credit,” he said. “He is really difficult to mark from set plays and I thought he took his goal extremely well and. When it comes to a set play we’ve got to defend our box better. 

“Big Guthrie was on him and has been magnificent this year. I said to him, ‘big man get your head up, how many games have your goals won us this year?’ We are generally quite good at set plays, but again I will give St Johnstone credit. 

“You have to give St Johnstone plaudits and they have to take a massive amount of credit for the way they managed the game.”

Martindale, who has served time in prison for drug dealing and money laundering and was only passed as a fit and proper person by the SFA in January, admitted reaching a cup final has made him eager so savour the experience again in future.   

“That’s what a cup final does,” he said. “As a player they don’t always come around. As a coach they don’t come around often. 

“Hampden would be a fantastic stadium to come back to with fans in it. It’s not easy, but it’s something I would like to replicate in the future. The boys have done great to get here and should take a lot of credit for getting the club to a cup final.”

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