Scottish football round-up: Refreshed Goodwin, ex-Celtic coach back in game, Rangers' players' anger, Martindale on Livingston exit

We round up the main stories in Scottish football across the course of Thursday ...
Jim Goodwin met the media on Thursday after being appointed Dundee United manager earlier in the week.Jim Goodwin met the media on Thursday after being appointed Dundee United manager earlier in the week.
Jim Goodwin met the media on Thursday after being appointed Dundee United manager earlier in the week.

Goodwin feels rejuvenated enough to take on Dundee United challenge

Jim Goodwin is adamant he has had enough time to get his Aberdeen disappointment out of his system prior to taking on the Dundee United job – even though he was planning to take a break until the summer. The 41-year-old was appointed manager of the relegation-threatened Tannadice side on Wednesday, just four-and-a-half weeks after being sacked from his previous role as Dons boss in the immediate aftermath of their 6-0 defeat at Hibernian. While Goodwin was relishing spending more time with his Glasgow-based family, he soon started to miss the game and – after turning down an approach from another club last month – felt ready to return to the frontline when United contacted him this week to ask him to lead their cinch Premiership survival bid. “I was quite comfortable being back at home again, my family are based in Glasgow so my wife and three kids had been living most of the week without me during my time at Aberdeen,” he explained. “It was lovely to be at home, being able to do the school run and take the responsibility away from my wife in terms of all the different clubs the kids go to in the evenings. But I’m not great at sitting around doing nothing in the day. I wasn’t planning on coming back in before the summer but this is far too big a club and too good an opportunity for me to turn down.”

Motherwell bring in Stephen Frail as Stuart Kettlewell’s assistant

Stephen Frail is back in Scottish football with Motherwell.Stephen Frail is back in Scottish football with Motherwell.
Stephen Frail is back in Scottish football with Motherwell.

Motherwell have appointed former Hearts manager Stephen Frail as Stuart Kettlewell’s assistant. The 53-year-old managed Hearts during the 2007-08 season and has worked for the likes of Celtic, Northern Ireland youths, Dundee United and East Fife. The former Hearts, Tranmere and Dundee defender told his new club’s website: “Stuart phoned me last week with regards to coming in and we discussed at length the short-term and long-term visions he has at the club. It was an easy decision to make. This is a good club and I’m well aware of the history of it.”

Carl Starfelt wants to take ‘pure happiness’ from cup win into Celtic run-in

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Celtic defender Carl Starfelt believes their Viaplay Cup final success will give them long-lasting confidence that they can rise to the big occasion. Ange Postecoglou’s side retained the trophy with a well-deserved 2-1 win over Rangers at Hampden on Sunday. Celtic had lost their previous Hampden encounter against Rangers in last season’s Scottish Cup semi-finals but took control of this derby clash to maintain their unbeaten record in three games against their city rivals this season. Starfelt made a strong start to the game both on and off the ball and feels the performance will give a long-term boost to his confidence. The Sweden international told the Celtic View Podcast: “I had a pretty good feeling before the game and I think I got some good actions early in the game and then everything just kept floating on. It was a very fun game to play, obviously with the atmosphere and it was good weather as well, with a trophy at stake. These are the games you want to play and perform in. To do that and win the game was amazing. We spoke before the game among the team that these were the games you had to step up and perform in especially at a club like Celtic where it’s all about winning trophies. We had so many players that performed on the day and really stepped up. To be fair, I think everyone in the team played a really good game. That was obviously really important and good for the confidence moving forward that we know that, in the big games, people step up.”

Rangers’ cup loss hurt players as much as fans – John Lundstram

John Lundstram has revealed the Rangers players' anger at defeat by Celtic.John Lundstram has revealed the Rangers players' anger at defeat by Celtic.
John Lundstram has revealed the Rangers players' anger at defeat by Celtic.

John Lundstram insists Rangers’ players were as angry as the supporters following the Viaplay Cup final loss to Celtic on Sunday. The Hoops retained the trophy with a deserved 2-1 win at Hampden Park and the result brought stinging criticism from disgruntled Gers supporters. Ahead of the visit of Kilmarnock in the cinch Premiership on Saturday, midfielder Lundstram claimed the emotions of unhappy Gers supporters are shared by the Ibrox squad. He said: “Of course. As players at the end of the day, there’s no one angrier than we are. Myself, going home after that, reflecting on it, I was just so disappointed in the performance and the performance levels. First and foremost you’ve got to look at yourself, and I have especially. I take a lot of responsibility for my own performance. I was hugely disappointed and angry with myself and angry with the team, but we’ve just all got to stick together. So yeah, disappointed with the whole result and of course, first and foremost, I always look at my own performance. We’ve all just got to stick together. We’re all massively disappointed and it showed the last couple of days. We’ve spoken and we just want to put it right.”

Ambitious David Martindale in no rush to leave Livingston

David Martindale is adamant he has no burning desire to leave Livingston despite seeing his name loosely linked to higher-profile managerial vacancies. The 48-year-old has turned his life around since spending four years in prison more than a decade ago and has established himself as an impressive cinch Premiership boss in recent seasons after being given an opportunity to work his way up with the Lions. Martindale has been touted as a contender for the Aberdeen and Dundee United vacancies in recent weeks, while he was even mentioned in some quarters as a possible option for Rangers following Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s sacking in November. He admits he has ambitions to test himself at a higher level at some point in the future, but he insists he is completely content with the West Lothian club. “I’ve got ambition, I want to do well financially, I want to challenge myself in other leagues, but I’m happy at Livingston Football Club,” he stressed. “Do I have any aspirations to not be at Livingston Football Club? Of course I do. I know I’m contradicting myself here but in the short-term, mid-term, (chief executive) John Ward and (chairman) Robert Wilson will decide my future, not me. If John and Robert get a phone call and it’s right for everybody, I’ll speak to them but I’ve not got any aspirations not to be at Livingston. I come in every day to do the job to the best of my ability. I don’t put David Martindale first, I put Livingston Football Club first. I think the day I start putting David Martindale first in terms of the football club, I’d start making bad business decisions and I’ll never ever do that. I’ll always put Livingston before David Martindale.”

Stephen Robinson takes encouragement from recent games as St Mirren host Celtic

David Martindale is in no rush to leave Livingston.David Martindale is in no rush to leave Livingston.
David Martindale is in no rush to leave Livingston.

Stephen Robinson takes encouragement from St Mirren’s two heavy defeats by Celtic as well as their unique victory over the Hoops ahead of Sunday’s clash with the leaders in Paisley. The Buddies are the only domestic team to beat Ange Postecoglou’s side this season with a 2-0 home cinch Premiership win in September. St Mirren subsequently lost 4-0 in the league and 5-1 in the Scottish Cup at Parkhead against a relentless Celtic side who are nine points clear of Rangers at the top of the table and are fresh from the Viaplay Cup final win over the Light Blues at Hampden Park last Sunday. Boss Robinson said: “The scoreline in the last game reflects that it was a massacre of sorts but it wasn’t. For 76 minutes we were very competitive and were 1-0 down and then went down to 10 men. That’s not to say we would have won the game with 11 men but we certainly caused them problems. We pressed them really well and took the ball off them at times and we were right at the top of our game for that period of time, the same as with the game at home.”