The Northern Irishman took over the Parkhead hot seat for the second time in the summer following Ange Postecoglou’s departure to Tottenham after winning the domestic treble last season.
Celtic have been knocked out of the Viaplay Cup but are already top of the cinch Premiership by two points after five games and Martindale expects a typically tough encounter when they visit West Lothian under the guidance of the former Liverpool and Leicester manager.
The Livi boss said: “First and foremost, they are two top-class managers, so they have lost a top-class manager through success but also recruited a top-class manager. There is differences, subtle changes, subtle tweaks. They have lost Cameron Carter-Vickers (to injury) which has weakened them and I think Jota leaving them weakens them. They have recruited very well. It’s going to take a bit of time for that to have an impact but they’ve got a manager who has whose managed at the top level, who knows the club inside out so that transitional period has helped because he knows the fans’ demands, he knows a lot of the players. Callum McGregor was a mainstay under Brendan (first time), that’s the leader on the park. So they have a lot of stability and continuity at the football club by bringing Brendan back so it is going to be an extremely difficult game of football. I am under no illusions as to how hard it is going to be.”
Despite further budget restrictions, Livingston sit in seventh place and have lost only one game in 10 in normal time – a 4-0 defeat by Rangers at Ibrox, where they will return for the Viaplay Cup tie next Wednesday night. Asked to rate his side out of 10 so far this season, Martindale continued on Sky Sports: “Probably six, a wee bit above average. In certain games I feel we probably dropped points. But I think in all competitive games including Viaplay Cup, that’s us lost one in 10 and that was to Rangers. So fairly happy with the start we have made but still a bit of work to be done and a good bit of progress to be had for everyone at the club.”