Boss David Martindale accepted the blame for Livingston’s poor first-half performance in a 2-0 cinch Scottish Premiership defeat to Aberdeen, but claims the action that led to Jackson Longridge’s “extremely soft” second yellow card was not a foul.
Aberdeen took the lead midway through the first half thanks to a low drilled shot from Ryan Hedges before Longridge was cautioned for challenges on Funso Ojo and then Hedges in the first 15 minutes of the second half.
Livingston defended stoutly to remain in the game but were eventually undone as David Bates turned home a Jonny Hayes free-kick at the back post to seal the win.
Martindale said: “I’ve just watched it back. Hedges has cleared the ball and kicked Jackson in the calf. I didn’t think it was a yellow card at the time and watching it back, there were probably 12 challenges that were more deserving of a card.
“I have to take a lot of responsibility for the first-half performance. Aberdeen controlled the majority of the half.
“I had a gut feeling and was going to change the shape tonight but I talked myself out of it because we played that way in the previous few games and it worked quite well.
“I have to take that responsibility.
“We started the second half quite well and up until the extremely soft card, I think we looked like we were growing into the game.
“Once the red card came, it was pretty much ‘game over’. The game was done.”
Aberdeen boss Stephen Glass had challenged his side to go on a good run through a busy December and admitted the win was a perfect start, but knows the challenge now is to build on what was just a fifth league win of the season.
“I think it was as comfortable as you can be against Livingston. First half we were excellent but when you go in only a goal up, it’s always dangerous.
“The way we started the second half wasn’t great and I think we invited them onto us at times.
“After the red card it felt comfortable but you’re always on edge when they have the opportunity to put the ball into the box.
“The players know the pressure of playing for this club.
“We were looking for six points from tonight and the game against St Mirren on Sunday and we’ve got the first three.
“It’s the best start possible. We have a group of hungry boys and they put demands on themselves.
“It’s important we build on it and that’s the overriding thing for me.”