Livingston 2 Dundee 0 extras: James McPake “senior players” blast; Leigh Griffiths Scottish Cup dilemma; Livi striker mystery absence explained

Key issues and observations from Livingston’s crucial 2-0 win over Dundee at the Tony Macaroni Arena

Skipper Charlie Adam looks unhappy as he is substituted before the hour mark during Dundee's 2-0 defeat to Livingston (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)

James McPake under pressure

The Dundee manager stressed he was not throwing the blame when he accused his senior players of letting down younger members of the side. He acknowledged he picked the team and that the buck stops with him.

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But he still felt it necessary to point out that he has perhaps been too loyal to certain players as Dundee suffered a sixth defeat on the bounce. Booked skipper Charlie Adam was replaced before the hour mark with Dundee already 2-0 down after a quick brace from Bruce Anderson after half-time. Dundee also looked suspectable in the centre of defence where Jordan McGhee and veteran Liam Fontaine were operating.

“We are normally good at that (clearing high balls) when we have Lee Ashcroft and Ryan Sweeney in the team,” he said. “Is that being harsh? No. It is honest. We were let down by senior players. I felt sorry for Max Anderson, Josh Mulligan, Luke McCowan...young players working hard to make a career. Tonight we were let down by senior players.

“We need to get the basics right. Am I being harsh I am not really bothered? Papering over cracks will not keep us in the division. I am not here just bashing players. The buck stops at my door. I thought that team could come here and win.

“Players have played their way out of the team. I am fighting for survival as a manager. We are fighting for survival as a football club. We have not been good enough. I need to pick a team of players I can trust.”

Griffiths Scottish Cup dilemma:

The intrigue surrounding Leigh Griffiths is only increasing after Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou confirmed the player had been freed by the Parkhead club but remains on loan at Dundee – for the time being. The striker is effectively a free agent and while Dundee are looking to put together a package for the player he made a largely ineffectual appearance from the bench for the last 25 minutes at the home of another of his former clubs.

Dundee’s next game is at Dumbarton in the Scottish Cup. Griffiths must decide whether he wishes to risk being cup-tied as he explores his options. McPake will also have to make a call. Griffiths remains on loan at Dundee until the end of the month.

Joel Nouble mystery

So much is expected of returning Livingston striker Joel Nouble that eyebrows were raised when his name was absent from the team sheet when the line-up were announced. He was not even on the bench.

The player has been a revelation on loan at Championship leaders Arbroath this season and there was no question about Martindale recalling him. So where was he? “Typical – big Joel phoned in yesterday to say he had tonsillitis,” the Livingston manager explained. “So what’s that..He played six months for Arbroath, not a thing wrong with him! And then on Monday phones in…tonsillitis!”

Martindale added that he would probably be available for this weekend’s Scottish Cup clash against Ross County. Despite his absence Nouble proved inspiring. Anderson responded to the pressure now on him for his place by scoring a match-winning double.

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