Referees treat managers like schoolchildren slams Livingston’s David Martindale

DAVID MARTINDALE has accused ‘petty’ officials of sucking the passion and emotion out of Scottish football by treating managers, coaches and players like schoolchildren.

The Livingston boss was left upset by a late offside decision in Sunday’s 1-0 defeat to Hearts and claimed that linesman Frank Connor was ‘arrogant’ in their post-match chat.

After watching back footage of the incident, he has repeated his call for the game north of the border to catch up with other countries and implement VAR ‘as soon as possible’.

But the Lions manager believes there is a wider problem with the men in black, who he insists are unapproachable and too rigid in the way they referee matches.

He reckons it is time for another summit between clubs and officials, like the one organised in 2019 following a spate of high-profile controversies, to help cross the growing ‘divide’.

He said: “You speak to the officials and sometimes you get treated as if you’re at school. You’re not allowed to speak to them.

“I was in the dugout on Sunday and there was a decision, and I threw my hands to the floor.

“The fourth official said, ‘you’d better stop that’. I asked why and was told I was aggressively gesturing. What am I meant to do?

“Look at the Premier League in England and some of the antics, and I’m part of the antics. It’s part of football. It’s your emotions. It’s showing your passion and emotions.

“Who am I hurting? They’ll say, ‘that’s on telly, you can’t do that’. Why not?

“I really can’t get my head round that. They’re trying to turn you into robots a wee bit.

“It’s just so politically correct now. Do you want managers to be emotionless. If that’s how they’re feeling at that moment, is it really hurting anybody?

“Is it not part of the entertainment? And I’m not saying we’re doing it for entertainment, but is it not part of what football is? Showing your emotions and showing your passions?

“Sometimes it’s like a headmaster at school – ‘stop that’, ‘get in your dugout’, ‘you’re not allowed to do that’ and ‘you, sit down’.

“Is it time for another summit with referees? Probably, yes.”

Martindale insists fourth officials need to cut managers and coaches some slack in the technical areas and accept that emotions run high during matches.

And he has cited Jose Mourinho’s famous – and infamous – goal celebrations as an example of the kind of theatre he believes is in danger of being stifled in a sanitised game.

He added: ‘I remember an incident in the Premier League in England when Mourinho was jumping about celebrating a goal. Then he gets back to his seat and his assistant tells him it’s offside.

“That’s brilliant. Would you rather see that than not? Who is he hurting?

“I just feel there is that much being coached out of football nowadays. Is that really what we want? I don’t think so.

“Managers, coaches, assistants, referees, fourth officials — stop taking ourselves so serious. Grow up a bit, we are all men

” If someone wants to call me a name then call me a name. I won’t go in a huff about it. We can shake hands at the end of the game.

“It just all feels so textbook and I feel there is a divide with managers saying ‘there’s no point’ (talking to referees). There should not be that divide.

“They won’t take the fire out of my belly. I’d be cheating myself. I couldn’t sit there. How I manage is by taking part in the game.

“Will I change as I develop and grow as a manager? Probably. But I’ve seen so many fans over the years talking about managers not showing emotion or passion. I couldn’t do that.

“It’s not going to change me, I hope. I would hate to be a manager who sits showing no emotion.”

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