Livingston boss David Martindale: Writing was on wall for relegation in January but I want chance to take team back to the Premiership

David Martindale insists Livingston's relegation was effectively sealed in January but hopes to be given the chance to guide them back to the top flight next season.

After a six-year stint in the Premiership, The Lions were officially relegated after today's 4-1 defeat to Motherwell, where a Theo Bair brace, Sam Nicholson wonderstrike and a Dan Casey effort did the damage before Joel Nouble's consolation.

Championship football now awaits the West Lothian outfit, having won just four times in 34 outings, and they go into the final three games of the campaign with only pride to play for.

The defeat coupled with Ross County's win over Hibs means they are 10 points adrift of second bottom St Johnstone at the foot of the table with only nine to play for.

Martindale accepts responsibility for taking the team down and says their fate was sealed at the turn of the year when they failed to attract the calibre of signing that could help steer them away from danger.

But he hopes the club will be 'pragmatic' in their approach for the future and he insists he wants to atone for this campaign by bringing the club straight back up.

The deflated gaffer said: It's a sad day. I'm realistic to know that this was probably a situation that could arise. When you look at the form we've been on this year, the points total, the gap - it was always going to be difficult. If you look at today's result, even if we'd won today it probably still would have meant relegation. It has been on the horizon.

"Although we got relegated mathematically today, I think, deep down and being honest, the writing has been on the wall since the turn of the year.

"The January window was extremely difficult trying to bring in players to help us, because of the relegation battle we were in, so today is difficult but I think it is important that I focus on trying to get this club back up to the Premiership.

"I am not going to sit here and wallow in the negatives. Life is not about how many times you get put down, life is about how many times you jump up and how you react.

"It's another punch, it's one that has floored us, but as a group or an individual I am not going to let that stop me. I've got aspirations and I want to take this club back to the Premiership. Hopefully I am allowed to do that, but, failing that, I hope the club get back to the Premiership. For that to happen, there is a lot of work needed to be done behind the scenes."

Asked if he had already had discussions about taking the team beyond the end of the season, Martindale added: "No there hasn't because I think now is the time we can speak about that as a group.

"All talk of anything has been put on the back burner until we knew where we would be playing football next season, so there hasn't been any talk of that. But I would imagine the coming weeks is the time to do that, now we know we will be playing in the Scottish Championship next season.

"I've been at the club 10 years. We've had two relegations in 10 years, we've been promoted twice, had two top six finishes, got to a cup final, missed out on the top six twice and stayed in the Premiership for the longest time in the club's history, six years,

"I think that shows how successful we have been as a group so I think it is important that, in times of adversity and negative periods, it is important that you remain pragmatic. This club has had a huge amount of success so I would hope to be allowed that opportunity but it is football, nothing surprises me."

Livingston now face home games with St Johnstone and Hibs either side of a midweek trip to Aberdeen to close out their time in the Premiership.