Celtic v Livingston: Martindale taking nothing for granted, chief defends surface

By Euan Davidson

January 15, 2021

Celtic will still have a decimated squad tomorrow, but Livingston boss David Martindale is taking nothing for granted.

Tomorrow’s 3pm kick-off will see the Bhoys square off against the Premiership’s in-form team at an inopportune time.

The Bhoys will be missing 13 squad members and manager Neil Lennon, while Livi have won 10 of their last 11 matches. James Forrest’s brother Alan has played a starring role for a side who sold their best striker, Lyndon Dykes, in the summer just gone.

Livi sit 5th, with form dictating that they could make a real go at the top 4. They’re currently seven points behind Jack Ross’ Hibs, with 2 games in hand on the Edinburgh side.

Despite the Bhoys missing a number of key players, Livi boss David Martindale isn’t taking anything for granted. Celtic’s last meeting with the West Lothian side finished 3-2, with McGregor, Christie and Ajeti scoring for the Bhoys (BBC).

He told the Daily Record:

“I was looking at Celtic’s squad against Hibs and, looking round the team, I was valuing it at around £60 million!

“Yes, it’s diminished for a Celtic team, but that’s got nothing to do with us.

“We can only play what’s in front of us. There’s an opportunity to go there and pick up points but, on the flip-side, they are more than capable of beating us.

“We’ll need to be at the top of our game.”


Celtic midfielder Turnbull playing against Livingston / (Photo by Craig Williamson/SNS Group via Getty Images)


Livingston hope for pitch-perfect performance against Celtic

Both Celtic and Livingston will be delighted that tomorrow’s game is at Celtic Park.

Livingston’s wonderfully named Tony Macaroni Arena features a “4G” all-weather pitch. However, the club have had to cancel two games against Aberdeen over the space of a fortnight (BBC).

Critics claim it’s getting “pasta” joke, with some lamenting the “regretthible” conditions. Fine: not in those terms, but there are certainly plenty of critics of the playing surface.

David Martindale’s side may be on red-hot form, but that hasn’t stopped rain and snow from ruining Livi’s home matches. Thankfully, the meeting with Celtic will be a home match for the Bhoys.

Celtic have previously struggled on the West Lothian all-weather surface, with one of two league defeats in 19-20 coming at the Tony Macaroni (BBC).

Livingston chief John Ward told the Daily Record:

“It’s always going to be divisive. Everyone has opinions on it.

“But I have seen games this season on grass pitches that have been churning up and the ball’s not moving or bouncing properly.

“Would we go back to grass? Not where we are right now – it’s very, very difficult to maintain a grass pitch where we are. The reality is that it is probably the wrong location for a stadium.

“We are in a valley in an area that’s quite high up. It’s a bad combination. We have had snow and frozen conditions for three weeks.”

With Celtic’s fixture build-up, another postponement would’ve been difficult to accept. The Bhoys are already 3 games behind Rangers, with 21 points to make up on their city rivals.

Covid-19 has wreaked havoc on the Premiership’s schedule, and Celtic’s recent off-field dramas haven’t helped in the slightest.