Livingston boss would back Marvin Bartley to the hilt if he led team off pitch

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Livingston manager Davie Martindale insists he would back Marvin Bartley to the hilt should his captain ever have to walk the team off the pitch as a result of a player being racially abused.

Former Hibernian midfielder Bartley said in a radio interview on Thursday that the Lions would take the drastic step if such an incident arose.

Bartley also said: “If they say they are going to fine us, then fine, we are not going out to play any more.”

Livingston skipper and reserves' manager Marvin Bartley | Livingston news
Marvin Bartley has become a leading figure in the fight against racism

Bartley’s comments come in the wake of Slavia Prague defender Ondrej Kudela being banned for ten games – a punishment described as ‘embarrassing by the midfielder, by UEFA for calling Rangers playmaker Glen Kamara a ‘monkey’.

Speaking ahead of today’s Scottish Cup last-16 clash at Aberdeen, Martindale insists Bartley, who works with the SFA’s Equality and Diversity Advisory Board, would be supported by whatever course of action he deems appropriate.

Martindale said: “I’ve spoken to Marvin about it and I’m going to take my lead off Marvin. 

“I think he’s the best placed person at the club to make these decisions. 

“He’s working in a capacity with the SFA now and is the captain of Livingston Football Club and obviously he is a black player. 

“Whatever Marvin sees fit I’ll back him 100 per cent, he is very level headed.

“This type of thing affects Marvin personally so he will have 100 per cent of my backing and the club’s backing whatever Marvin decides is best for Livingston Football Club. 

“Having people like Marvin leading these campaigns can only help.”

Martindale, however, is hopeful that he will never have to see his players walk off due to a racism incident.

He added: “It would send a statement if the players were to walk off but I don’t think we’re going to see that in Scotland because I don’t think the problem is within Scottish football, I may be wrong in saying that. 

“Guys like Marvin, Efe (Ambrose), Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Steve Lawson, they could maybe tell me otherwise but I don’t think there is a massive problem in Scottish football.

“Can we do better, of course we can but I think we’re a good place.

“If I ever had an incident where a player was found guilty of racism he would not be at this football club, I can tell you that.”

Martindale, meanwhile, insists new Aberdeen manager Stephen Glass, who will make his dugout bow this afternoon, has been shrewd with his coaching appointments.

Celtic captain Scott Brown will join as player/coach this summer, while England striking coach Allan Russell has already linked up with the former Dons, Newcastle United and Hibs playmaker.

Martindale added: “Stephen is obviously a very capable coach and lets be honest, if you look at who he’s brought in to assist him, he’s been very clever with his staff choices.

“Scott Brown is a fantastic addition to Aberdeen on and off the park and I think Allan Russell comes highly thought of. 

“If you’re working at international level with England you’ve got to have something about you. 

“You’re working with some of the top strikers in the world, Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane, just to name a few.”