Livingston chief executive John Ward admits Davie Martindale will go into Tuesday’s crucial Scottish FA hearing with support from politicians and one leading academic.
Just two days after leading the Lions to the League Cup final, interim manager Martindale now must convince the football body that he is a ‘fit and proper person’.
The SFA have already twice rejected Martindale, with the 46-year old having been sentenced to prison in 2006 for six-and-a-half years due to drug offences.
Since replacing Gary Holt as boss last month, Martindale has enjoyed a near flawless spell in the dugout, with Sunday’s semi-final win over St Mirren extending his unbeaten run in to 11 games.
Local Livingston politicians Hannah Bardell MP and Angela Constance MSP are among those supporting Martindale in his bid to receive SFA approval.
Professor Phil Scraton of Belfast University, who has expertise in prisons, penal reform and prisoner rehabilitation, has also written to SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell in support of Martindale.
Ward said: “Our local MP is Angela Constance MSP, she has written to (SFA president) Rod Petrie on the club’s behalf to offer her support.
“Hannah Bardell, who is a Livingston supporter and Westminster MP, has been coming to games.
“She called me on Sunday to say, ‘congratulations for the win over St Mirren and by the way, is it worthwhile me sticking my tuppence worth in?’
“We’ve also had the gentleman from Belfast University, he sat on the Hillsborough Independent Panel and has written extensively on social justice and rehabilitation.
“There is far more of a spotlight on the SFA this time given they have turned him down twice as a fit and proper person.”
Professor Scraton headed the Hillsborough Independent Panel in it’s review of the 1989 tragedy, said in an open letter to SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell: “I believe that within its grasp the Scottish FA has the opportunity to acknowledge David Martindale’s remarkable personal and professional transition.
“By accepting he passes the ‘fit and proper person’ test, the SFA not only, rightfully, would recognise his transition but also demonstrate to other authorities and employers that those who have committed serious offences, through their own efforts and with the support of others, can turn their lives around.”