Livingston manager Gary Holt sings the praises of Celtic

By David Walton

March 4, 2020

Livingston manager Gary Holt has certainly been singing the praises of Celtic ahead of our meeting tonight.

Holt will look to manage his fourth game without a defeat against the Hoops as Livi boss this evening when we visit the Tony Macaroni Arena. Celtic drew twice with Livingston last season before losing 2-0 in West Lothian back in September.

Since Livingston’s promotion, Celtic have only collected two wins against them – both at Celtic Park. However, in the bigger picture, the Hoops have swept aside all before them to win all four trophies on offer during Livingston’s time in the top flight.

Livingston manager Gary Holt (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

So it’s clear to see why Holt has some admiration for the runaway champions. Speaking in the Daily Record, he had the following remarks to make about Neil Lennon’s side.

“We made them angry (by beating Celtic in October). They are relentless, ruthless, they know how to win games, even if they are not playing to their ability.

“No matter the situation, no matter the conditions, as you saw on Sunday, they know how to win games of football. They never give up and you have to match that. You are testing yourself against the best team in Scotland so go see how good you can be.

“We just need to be at it. We need 11 players plus our subs concentrating on the game, it is as simple as that. If you have that you have a chance.”

Holt may feel he has our number

Since Holt joined Livingston back at the start of last season, he’s impressed on two occasions against us at the Tony Macaroni. And, because of that, he may just feel he has our number heading into the game.

Livingston put a focus on stifling the midfield and really closing down space. Whenever the likes of Ryan Christie or Tom Rogic break away with the ball, the defence is quick to step out whilst the midfielders dart back like wild dogs. Given the tightness of the pitch, it doesn’t make for an enjoyable trip.

It really isn’t a comfortable environment to play your football on. Especially considering it’s all happening on a plastic pitch. Given it’s also a night-time game this evening, it’s set up for another tough one.

Celtic tend to struggle at Livingston (Callum Landells/Getty Images)

Of course, Celtic have shown their class against Livi once this season. That 4-0 rout at Celtic Park could’ve been so much more had we put our shooting boots on. Celtic need to take whatever confidence they can from that result into this game tonight, as we could really do with avoiding this place becoming a bogey ground.

Holt’s acknowledgment of Celtic’s quality has probably helped him get results against us in the past. He doesn’t fall for this “Celtic aren’t as good as people think” nonsense. Holt knows exactly what we’re all about and who needs to be stopped. That’s what he’s done so well in three of his four matches in charge against us.

Hopefully, tonight isn’t another game where we let the environment get to us. Three points this evening would be another solid step towards the title.

What do you make of Gary Holt’s work at Livingston? Why has he had so much success against us in recent matches? Give us your verdict in our discussion forum below.