Livingston manager David Martindale was happy to give Celtic some plaudits ahead of Wednesday night’s game in West Lothian.
The Hoops will travel to the Tony Macaroni Arena desperately needing a win. For many, the title is all but gone. Not even Motherwell’s 1-1 draw with Rangers has brought any joy to the Celtic faithful.
That was mainly down to the fact Martindale’s side earned a fully-deserved 1-1 draw with Celtic at Parkhead 24 hours previously. This week is bound to be a harder challenge for Livi however given Celtic have all but one of their self-isolating stars back available.
More or less the same side that bossed things at Ibrox and impressed towrds the end of 2020 will be available. And Martindale has sent out a firm warning to his players that they’ll be in for a much tougher evening.
As quoted by the Evening Express, Martindale said: “The last time they had all their players available was the Old Firm game (January 2). They played the 4-4-2 diamond and I thought they were fantastic in that game albeit they never came out on the right side of the result.
“I think it will be a similar team that plays on Wednesday night. It will be a tough night and a lot tougher than the Celtic team they played at Parkhead.
“Seven of the players who played against us on Saturday started in the Old Firm game. So I said to the boys that there is a fresh batch of players coming in on Wednesday night but we have nothing to fear.”
Livingston vs Celtic – our most difficult away game?
In recent years, not many trips have given Celtic the same number of frustrations that the Tony Macaroni has.
Celtic have visited there three times since Livi were promoted in 2018 – we’ve won zero of them. Two were draws whilst our only defeat to Livingston in our history came courtesy of a 2-0 defeat there last season. It’s important to remember that we also came within seconds of losing to Livi back in February too. Only a late Tom Rogic goal spared our blushes in the 2-2 draw.
Easter Road and even Ibrox have given us plenty of issues over the last several years. But the synthetic surface in West Lothian is perhaps the worst to play on for everyone at the club. It’s not an enjoyable fixture to watch and clearly isn’t fun to play in either.
So it’s probably just the thing that we’ll have our first-team back. Going to Livi with a bunch of academy stars and fringe players wouldn’t have done us any good. Many would’ve expected defeat. At least with our first-team back, there should be a bit more determination and confidence around what we could produce.
Martindale comes across a real gent. But he’s not wrong in stating that Livi have nothing to fear. There’s so much truth to that, and there’s a difference between respecting the opposition and fearing them. Livingston have proved so often in the past that they can cause us bother. Wednesday will be anything but easy.
But our poor run has got to end sometime. Surely, we’ll be back seeing those performances we witnessed towards the end of 2020 at some point in the near future.