Scottish Daily Mail

Bart­ley left feel­ing blue af­ter Holt’s res­ig­na­tion


- By GE­ORGE GRANT Sports · Soccer · St. Mirren F.C. · Championship · Efe Ambrose · Ayr United F.C.

GARY HOLT is not the first man­ager Marvin Bart­ley has seen f all on his sword. How­ever, the Liv­ingston skip­per is pray­ing that he is the last.

The mid­fielder ad­mits the Lions’ squad were left shell-shocked on Thurs­day when Holt called a meet­ing to in­form the play­ers that he would be re­sign­ing from his post af­ter lit­tle more than two years at the helm.

Bart­ley saw the footage of Holt con­fess­ing that he would con­sider his fu­ture fol­low­ing de­feat against St Mir­ren last Satur­day, but he swiftly wrote it off as heat-of-the­mo­ment emo­tion. So the de­ci­sion came as a bolt from the blue.

And the English­man is adamant that, even as a griz­zled vet­eran of the game, it never gets any eas­ier to watch a man­ager walk through the exit door — par­tic­u­larly as Holt was the man who signed him and gave him the cap­tain’s arm­band at the be­gin­ning of this season.

Bart­ley said: ‘ Be­ing one of the older play­ers at the club, I have prob­a­bly lost my man­ager more than most. It’s never easy and con­sid­er­ing I don’t have too long l eft i n the game as a player, hope­fully i t’s the l ast time a man­ager re­signs on me.

‘It’s hor­ri­ble to watch some­one walk away f rom a j ob that I imag­ine he loved.

‘He loves foot­ball and for him to make that de­ci­sion, he must have re­ally thought he couldn’t do any more.

‘In post-match in­ter­views, your emo­tions can be all over the place. You are a ngry, di s a ppointed, up­set.

‘I try not to read too much into them so I didn’t think too much of what he said on Satur­day.

‘ But he ob­vi­ously de­cided that he couldn’t take the club for­ward.’

As well as be­com­ing cap­tain dur­ing Holt’s ten­ure, Bart­ley was also aff orded t he op­por­tu­nity to pur­sue his o wn coach­ing as­pi­ra­tions by the now de­parted gaffer.

The 34- year-old

English man was re­cently ap­pointed as re­serve team boss, as­sisted by Efe Am­brose and Gary Ma­ley, and has made no se­cret of his de­sire to be­come a man­ager in his own right one day. How­ever, Bart­ley is also adamant that the cur­rent va­cancy comes too soon for him and he con­tin­ues to fo­cus on his play­ing re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. He con­tin­ued: ‘I’ll still do my stuff for the re­serve side and if I’m ever asked to help in any other way, then I’ll be here for the club, but I’ll just be fo­cus­ing on play­ing go­ing for­ward. It’s too early for me. ‘ I’m still en­joy­ing play­ing and my fo­cus is on that. ‘ If this was a cou­ple of years down the line, then it might be a dif­fer­ent con­ver­sa­tion but, at this mo­ment in time, I’m much more in­ter­ested in play­ing on at first-team level.’ It will now fall upon Liv­ingston’s head of foot­ball op­er­a­tions David Martin­dale and goal­keep­ing coach

Tony Caig to take in­terim charge of the side f or to­day’s home Bet­fred Cup last-16 tie against Ayr United.

And Bart­ley says that they can­not use a tu­mul­tuous week in West Loth­ian as any sort of ex­cuse for fail­ing to per­form to their f ull po­ten­tial against t heir Cham­pi­onship vis­i­tors.

He added: ‘We just need to deal with it. We are paid to win foot­ball matches, not to have a hang­over be­cause of s ome­thing t hat hap­pened dur­ing the week.

‘There was a lot of shock at t he t i me be­cause of what hap­pened but, as ruth­less as it sounds, then it was time for train­ing.

‘ There are no excuses on Satur­day, that’s the mes­sage from the club and the cap­tain of this club.

‘If we don’t win this game on Satur­day, then it would be down to us com­pletely and no one else. It re­ally is a huge op­por­tu­nity for us and a huge game for many rea­sons.

‘One of those rea­sons is to say: “Gary, thank you for ev­ery­thing you’ve done” and to ded­i­cate a vic­tory to him.

‘An­other rea­son is that we would then only be one game away from play­ing at Ham­p­den.’

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 ??  ?? Shame: Bart­ley was dis­ap­pointed to see Holt (be­low) de­part
Shame: Bart­ley was dis­ap­pointed to see Holt (be­low) de­part

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