Celtic 2 – 1 Livingston

Celtic re-established their nine-point lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership with a 2-1 win over Livingston.

Ange Postecoglou’s side dominated proceedings at Parkhead as an own goal from Ayo Obileye and an excellent team goal finished by Kyogo put them in control, before Nicky Devlin pulled back an unlikely consolation minutes before half-time.

Kyogo finished off a brilliant team move for the hosts
Kyogo finished off a brilliant team move for the hosts

Liel Abada had a third controversially ruled out for offside in the second half, but it did not matter as Celtic regained their healthy advantage at the top of the table with an 11th league victory in a row.

The result means Postecoglou’s side are now mathematically assured to go into the Old Firm derby at Rangers on January 2, live on Sky Sports, at the top of the table.

How Celtic made it 11 wins in a row

Celtic started the game strongly with many of their attacks emanating from their right-hand avenue of attack occupied by Abada – the only change made by Postecoglou from the weekend win over Aberdeen.

First, Anthony Ralston’s low cross caused havoc in the Livingston penalty area and the loose ball fell to Kyogo, who fired wide while on the turn.

As Celtic continued to show their dominance, Obileye was warned about the potential of an own goal as he headed on a Celtic free-kick towards the roof of the visitors’ net but goalkeeper Ivan Konovalov managed to tip it over.

Ayo Obileye scored an own goal early on for Livingston
Ayo Obileye scored an own goal early on for Livingston

Ralston’s rasping effort flew over the far corner and Reo Hatate put another good effort wide of Konovalov’s near post – but it was not long until the champions took the lead.

Abada’s cross from the right was unfortunately put high into his net by Obileye, who was under no pressure, and it was the least Postecoglou’s side deserved.

Celtic went in search for more as Abada slipped in Kyogo but Konovalov rushed off his line to deny him from close range. The Livingston goalkeeper was forced into a similar circumstances to deny Hatate moments later, this time down the Celtic left.

Livingston were looking to hang on, Celtic cut them open for a second as the clock ticked into first-half stoppage time. Ralston cut open the visiting defence with a through ball to Abada, who crossed for Kyogo to tap home from close range.

Nicky Devlin pulled a goal back for Livingston after Kyogo's strike
Nicky Devlin pulled a goal back for Livingston after Kyogo’s strike

There was still time, however, for Livingston to pull one back as Devlin was slipped through on goal and he just touched the ball beyond the previously untroubled Joe Hart in the visitors’ first attack of the game.

Livingston re-emerged in the second period with attacking intentions as Cristian Montano put a good chance wide of Hart’s near post when found in space on the left.

The visitors went close again just after the hour mark, with Stephen Kelly testing Hart’s palms with a stinging effort from distance – the Celtic goalkeeper awkwardly palmed the shot away.

Abada, who ended the game with two assists, had a goal for himself ruled out by VAR
Abada had a goal for himself ruled out by VAR

There was time for VAR controversy as Callum McGregor’s pass forwards was headed back towards his goal by substitute Martin Boyes, with Abada – standing in an offside position – running on and scoring from the chance.

Referee Euan Anderson was sent to the monitor and ruled the goal out, to the dismay of many inside Parkhead.

Aaron Mooy, Abada and Sead Haksabanovic all went close to a Celtic third late on, but barring a few nervy moments in seven minutes of stoppage time, the champions held on for a 11th league win in a row.

Postecoglou: It wasn’t our best performance

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou speaking to Sky Sports News:

“It wasn’t our best performance. The first half, we controlled it well, I’m just disappointed we didn’t have enough numbers in the box and capitalise on those areas. At 2-0 up, to concede a goal like we did, that was a soft one today after so long not conceding soft goals. So that was disappointing.

“We need to be better in the box, they were quality opportunities. It’s not easy when the opposition are camped in there to find the space, but we do and we don’t have enough people at the end of it. Players have got away from it a little bit and we have to emphasise that.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Ange Postecoglou reflects on Celtic’s 2-1 win over Livingston that moves his side nine points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership.

“Abada is good. He’s such a positive player and consistently causing problems for the opposition. There were a couple of times he could have got on the end of things.

“I’m not going to be asking for [an explanation about the third goal]. I’m not going to keep banging on about VAR and the intrusions in the game. That’s one where he doesn’t need to go to the monitor.

“Hopefully Ralston is not too bad, he was in the wars to be fair. He got knock on ankle, bang on nose and then his back seized up.

“I felt we needed a bit of rhythm and cohesion [with just the one change for the line-up] but with the short turnaround and another game in three, four days, we’ll look to make changes. But there are other players who deserve their opportunity.”

Martindale: I can’t grumble about result but I’m proud

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

David Martindale admits Celtic deserved to come out on top against his Livingston side in the Scottish Premiership.

Livingston manager David Martindale speaking to Sky Sports News:

“I was disappointed with the two goals we gave away. I knew that was of their strongest points and we worked on it in the middle of the week. We have up the wide areas too much. The first goal is a slight deflection on the cross and the second, we have to deal with the front area better.

“We scored a decent goal ourselves and got more information into the boys at half-time and we were more on the front foot in the second half. We had a wee opportunity in the game and they were making bad mistakes so we could get higher up the park. We had a 10-15 minute period after the second period, then Ange and I make a few changes and we can’t get back in the game.

Abada is challenged by Cristian Montano
Abada is challenged by Cristian Montano

“I was really proud of the boys, they stuck to the game plan. Other teams play a low block and get beat four or five. Ivan wasn’t really busy. In the low block, you have to have discipline and the boys had that. Barring the two goals, I’m really proud.

“It’s credit to the players – I’m not saying we should have had three points or one point. Celtic dominate the game. We were always in the game.

“I’m really pleased for the boys. People talk about parking the bus but we were always in it. We could have done a bit better with the counter a couple of times. But Celtic have picked the three points up and I can’t grumble about it.”

What’s next?

Celtic‘s next Scottish Premiership match is at home to St Johnstone on Christmas Eve. Kick-off 12.30pm.

Livingston are also in action that day, away to Hibernian. That game kicks off at 2pm.

#Celtic #Livingston

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: