3 things to look out for as Celtic take on Livingston

By Euan Davidson

January 16, 2021

Celtic take on Livingston today, in a match that will undoubtedly prove difficult for the Bhoys.

Livingston, if you needed reminding, are an incredible winning run. Celtic, meanwhile, still have a decimated squad after, well… you know.

Still, there’s plenty of intrigue for the Celtic faithful against David Martindale’s side today. In normal circumstances, you might expect the Bhoys to comfortable handle a team like Livingston. With 13 players still missing, though, that’s a tougher ask than usual.

In a season that has already thrown up plenty of unpleasant surprises, Celtic will be hoping to avoid another. With the benefit of playing at home, a side led by Gavin Strachan have plenty to do.

Ryan Christie scores against Livingston in the 3-2 win earlier this season / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Celtic must utilise Livingston weakness

Livingston haven’t conceded many goals of late. 3 in 6 games, as a matter of fact, in games they’ve won.

Efe Ambrose and Jon Guthrie represent a solid defence, with plenty of grit and energy. In a way, it’s nice to see Efe shining after Celtic, as there are many – myself included – who thought he was unfairly pilloried while playing for the Bhoys.

It’s worth mentioning that Ambrose won the African Cup of Nations with Nigeria. A mug, he isn’t.

However, there is a glaring weakness in Livingston’s game, and Celtic should take full advantage. After all, it’s one of Celtic’s problems too: balls into the box.

Against Killie, a simple ball into the danger area was enough to spark chaos (Sky Sports). St. Johnstone also scored via a cross in their 2-1 defeat to Livi (SPFL/YouTube).

It’s one of few areas where Livingston haven’t excelled this season, and Celtic’s probable full-backs Diego Laxalt and Jeremie Frimpong should be prioritising this. Regular service from wide areas could win the game for Lennon and Celtic.


Celtic are having to rely on the likes of Armstrog Oko-Flex / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Who plays up front?

There’s a serious debate as to who will start up front for Celtic today. Cameron Harper gave it a go on Monday night, but he’s not a striker. That’s not a knock, it’s the same as saying that I’m not an interior decorator.

Armstrong Oko-Flex got pelters for wearing AirPods before his debut against Hibs, even if he was on the phone to Neil Lennon. The Irishman hasn’t seen a great deal of first-team action yet at Celtic, but his attacking instincts could see him preferred up front.

Harper may get the nod again, but he pulled up after an hour against Hibernian, and he’s supposedly in contract talks with another club. Another option is playing David Turnbull up front, with his proven scoring prowess.

It’s a desperate situation, really, albeit an interesting one.

James Forrest’s brother Alan is one of many enjoying Livi’s season so far / (Photo by Paul Devlin/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Can Celtic break the Livingston streak?

It feels incredibly odd saying this, but bear with me:

Celtic could stop Livingston from winning their 9th consecutive game.

The West Lothian side are chasing their own 9-in-a-row, and if Celtic are to take any steps towards bridging the gap on Rangers, nothing less than a win is acceptable today.

From the early-season chaos and managerial changes to Livi’s current winning streak, the club have had an odd but prosperous 20-21 campaign. Few could’ve predicted that Livingston would be in the situation they’re in, chasing European football.

They lost their best player in Lyndon Dykes, yet they look better.

Celtic are truly up against it today, and again – with no disrespect intended towards Livingston – it’s a bad sign that there’s reason to fear David Martindale’s side today.

If Celtic can break Livi’s streak, it would represent an upturn in form that the club desperately need. Today’s game should prove fascinating.