Livingston defender Ciaron Brown lifts lid on David Martindale's magic formula before Cardiff City return

Ciaron Brown is swapping a team that has forgotten how to lose for one that’s forgotten how to win.

Defender Ciaron Brown played the last game of a third spell on loan at Livingston in Saturday's 0-0 draw with Aberdeen (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

The on-loan defender has been a central part of a Livingston side that has kept five clean sheets in their last seven outings and are unbeaten in 13 matches. Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Aberdeen was his last appearance, however, as he has been recalled by new Cardiff City manager Mick McCarthy, whose struggling Championship side could do with some new inspiration. They have now gone eight matches without a win.

Brown sums up Livingston at present. Players come in and players go out and David Martindale’s side keep on keeping on. The 23-year-old has only started the last seven matches of their unbeaten run but fitted right in. Not that this should surprise. His latest spell on loan at the club is his third.

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No wonder the Tannoy announcer at the Tony Macaroni Arena felt so compelled to salute the departing defender that he did so while play raged on during Saturday’s game, with both sides missing late chances to secure all three points.

Although it will be dependent on McCarthy’s plans, who’s to say Brown won’t be back for a fourth spell? It just won’t be in time to play a part in the Betfred Cup final at the end of this month against St Johnstone, one of Brown’s main regrets about being recalled at this stage of the season.

What he did do before going – the defender drove back down to Cardiff yesterday – was offer some insight about what exactly is going on at Livingston. More specifically, what’s Martindale’s secret? “Some people might think Davie shouts a lot but he just sets demands on you,” he said.

“I get it worse because I’m a full back - that’s why I try to play centre half! I’m mainly a centre half but I’ll do a job wherever he asks. I know he’s screaming on the side but he’s not screaming at you, it’s just that he wants to win.

“When we started the 12-game unbeaten run we got into a huddle and said ‘we need to start pushing on and set demands’ and we’ve done that. It’s come from Davie and Marv (Bartley).

“I’ll take away a lot from Livingston - a bit of peace and quiet from Davie! Seriously, the experience as a whole. And just having fun with the boys. I’ve made friends for life and I’ll keep in touch with Davie. I’ll let you know in a week how Mick McCarthy compares. It would be a good competition!”

Brown revealed that McCarthy got in touch soon after he took over last month and was straight to the point – he wanted him back as soon as possible.

“He said he felt I’d done well and wanted to see me,” recalled Brown. “The cup final is hard to give up despite not playing in many of the games. I was suspended for the semi-final and only found out a couple of days before it that I was suspended.

“I don’t know what the rules are but if we win I want a medal in the post! But it’s just an achievement to have been part of a team that got to the final.”

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