Callum McGregor on how Celtic are preparing for Livingston battle
Callum McGregor knows what’s at stake for Celtic when the Bhoys arrive in West Lothian to face Livingston on Sunday.
Make no mistake about it; this is a huge game. Livingston have been a perennial bogey team. While David Martindale has admitted he’s in awe of this Celtic side, that doesn’t change past results. Livi beat us at the Tony Macaroni, and kept it goalless at Celtic Park.
Callum McGregor, who’s had a fantastic season as a captain and a number 6, knows there are nerves in the Celtic support. It’s only natural; no team has taken more points from us this season. At least Hearts and Rangers were avenged – in Hearts’ case, multiple times.
The captain, though, insists Celtic will be more than ready for the Tony Macaroni Arena. He said [Herald]: “We have kind of struggled to pick up results [against them], especially away, so we just try to implement the game model that we want.
“We will look at it over the next couple of days, anticipate what they will do and try to come up with a gameplan to beat that.”
What they will do, recent history suggests, is keep things very, very compact. In the last game against Livi, Celtic were forced to go wide, making numerous crosses for a well-marked Albian Ajeti. Though the personnel will be different this time, you have to admit it was a clever strategy from Martindale.
Albeit an extremely defensive one. With one of their rare opportunities, though, they found the net. It was a tough time for Ange Postecoglou. What’s happened since then, though, really ought to give us hope.
Celtic know what Livingston will bring; it’s up to McGregor and his teammates to stop it
By now, we’re fully aware of what Livingston bring to the table. There are multiple challenges there, from their pitch to their tactics, to undoing a hoodoo that’s stung us repeatedly.
But it’s not as if Livingston are unbeatable. Our rivals have had no issue. We’ve even managed to overcome them in the past. There’s nothing stopping us apart from our own mentality, provided Celtic are armed with the know-how and strategy to win the game.
That sounds obvious, and it’s because it is.
People will criticise Livingston for how they set up against Celtic. Honestly, though, it makes sense for them. Yes, it’s not the most aesthetically pleasing brand of football, and it certainly rubs against what Celtic fans expect from the game. Considering their resources compared to us, though, they have to use every trick in the book.
It’s on Celtic and McGregor to find a way past them.
The Hoops need a big three points here. Overcome Livingston, and the morale boost will be considerable for the title run-in.
Callum McGregor knows his Celtic team have no excuses here.