Livingston’s task against Celtic hasn’t become any easier with Brendan Rodgers having replaced Ange Postecglou at the helm, says David Martindale.
After inheriting a treble-winning side, Rodgers’ Celtic were knocked out of the Viaplay Cup by Kilmarnock but are top of the Premiership by two points after five games.
Livi host Celtic on Saturday and boss Martindale told Sky Sports Scotland: "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 by bringing Brendan back so it is going to be an extremely difficult game.”
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.
Martindale rates his side’s season as “six out of 10” so far, adding: “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."