Livingston boss David Martindale feels Jay Emmanuel-Thomas is among the most gifted players in Scotland as he prepares to take on his former club.
Emmanuel-Thomas will return to the Tony Macaroni Arena on Sunday after making an impressive start with Aberdeen.
An eye-catching display for Livi in the Scottish Cup against Aberdeen last season helped convince Dons boss Stephen Glass to move for the former Arsenal forward.
Martindale worked hard to get the big striker up to speed last season and hopes that effort on the 30-year-old does not come back to bite him in Sunday’s cinch Premiership clash.
“Jet ended the season very well, we saw a different player to the one that came in at the start of the season,” Martindale said.
“It’s very similar to what I am going through now with the boys that are coming into Scottish football.
“Albeit it took Jet a bit longer to get up to speed, he finished the season very strongly.
“He is an infectious character, he is highly technical, skilled, has a lot of ability and I think the Aberdeen fans have taken to him very, very quickly.
“I am going to say I’m delighted that he has settled in very well but I hope I’m wrong on Sunday.
“He probably could have moved abroad for a bit more money than he is on at Aberdeen but I think Jet enjoyed Scottish football and he knows he can play Scottish football.
“He is probably one of the most gifted players in Scotland.
“He also has a daughter in England and can fly down and see her so I think that played a big part in Jet staying in Scotland.”
Martindale has some fitness issues in his squad and saw his options cut when he somewhat reluctantly let Josh Mullin join Hamilton on loan on Friday evening.
“It hasn’t quite worked out this summer with Josh missing a large part of pre-season after being unable to make the Spain trip due to family reasons and then on our return, contracting Covid,” Martindale said on Livingston’s website.
“This has led to limited game time for Josh and resultantly, he’s asked to go out on loan to play games.
“I have a great relationship with Josh personally and would never stand in a player’s way if they feel that they want to go out on loan for more game time.
“We have an option to recall Josh in the winter window and I’m sure he will go out to Hamilton and do well for them in the Championship.
“We do have a few options in wide areas at present, albeit, we have identified a few targets with Josh’s departure leaving a void for us to fill. We hope to announce a signing in the next week or so.”
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