Scottish Daily Mail
Bartley left feeling blue after Holt’s resignation
SEEING BOSS WALK AWAY WAS A SHOCK FOR THE MIDFIELDER
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.’