By Callum McFadden at the Tony Macaroni Arena.
Ange Postecoglou and Celtic secured a vital win on the road against Livingston in an open game at the Tony Macaroni Arena. The game marked the Australian’s 50th game in charge of Celtic and it was an emphatic victory at a crucial stage of the domestic season in Scotland.
The win capped Celtic’s first away win against Livi since 2007 when Gordon Strachan was still in charge at Celtic. For the thousands of away fans in attendance today, the win was worth the 15-year wait.
The game started with intensity from both sides and was not without controversy as Celtic were awarded an early penalty by referee Nick Walsh following a handball by Livingston defender Jack Fitzwater.
Celtic captain Callum McGregor was unable to convert the penalty which led to nerves among the visiting fans. Joe Hart made a strong reaction save from Joel Nouble soon after that would not have eased those nerves either.
Daizen Maeda soon changed the game in Celtic’s favour on seventeen minutes by heading in a rebound from a saved Carl Starfelt effort following a corner that was heavily disputed by the home side.
Celtic took control from there on out but did suffer a scare in first-half injury time when Livingston centre back Ayo Obileye saw a headed effort crash off the Celtic crossbar.
The celebrations from Celtic players, staff and fans at full time shows you just how important this win is.
The first time Celtic have won away in Livingston since 2007 when Gordon Strachan was manager of Celtic. pic.twitter.com/NTyjP9FuK3
— Callum McFadden (@Callum7McFadden) March 6, 2022
Any hope of a Livingston fight back in the second half was quelled within the first nine minutes of the restart. Nicky Devlin scored an own goal to give Celtic a two-goal cushion before a fine James Forrest finish made it 3-0.
To their credit, Livingston hit back with a goal of their own within a minute of Celtic’s third through Andrew Shinnie, giving the home fans hope that a comeback could be on.
Any hope of a comeback was not forthcoming as Celtic retained possession for large parts of the remaining time left in the second half while both clubs made use of their allocated substitutions which halted the flow of the game.
The swathes of Celtic fans were jubilant when the full-time whistle was blown as a win today meant that the Parkhead side remain three points clear at top of the Scottish Premiership with eight games remaining.
Livingston won’t be too disheartened though as they remain in 5th place and on course for a third consecutive top-six finish which would be nothing short of remarkable given their budget in comparison to many of their rivals within the top flight.
Post-match, Celtic manager Postecoglou was full of praise for his players and how they carried out their game plan at a difficult away venue. “I’m very pleased, obviously we know it’s a difficult place to come and win [but] we played really well,” he said.
“We were dominant from the first minute and created good chances. [Livingston] were always a threat from set-pieces.
“The key is just to approach each game, every challenge in the same way. That’s what we do. We knew it was a difficult venue and we still found the answers playing our football.”