Scott McDonald slams "really slow" Livingston surface ahead of Celtic trip

By David Walton

March 3, 2022

Scott McDonald has slammed Livingston’s 4G surface ahead of Sunday’s Celtic trip to the Tony Macaroni Arena.

The Hoops will take on David Martindale’s side at a venue in which the Celtic players have struggled to perform at over the years.

Even this season alone, Ange Postecoglou has yet to get the better of Livi. It’s the only team in the Scottish Premiership we’ve yet to beat. A 1-0 defeat in West Lothian in September was followed by a 0-0 stalemate at Parkhead a month later.

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

And as they prepare to clash again on Livingston’s plastic pitch, Scott McDonald wasn’t too impressed with it when he spoke to 67HailHail:

“I hate this place, I hate it! I didn’t actually play on this pitch. When the pitch was laid I was actually doing the media work at the time. But even to walk across it, it’s so thick. For a 4G surface, it plays really slow, it really does. It’s crap. It’s crap for the way footballing teams want to play.

“So for me it gives Livingston a huge advantage against other teams. People can disagree all they want but when you play on it you know and you see it, it’s a different ball game. All 4G surfaces are different ball games to play on. Very, very rarely have you seen Celtic go to a 4G surface and absolutely annihilate the team.

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“Why is that? Is it a coincidence or not? I don’t know, they play differently with the way you move the ball. Teams that play on it every second week – is that not an advantage? I think it is.”

Celtic need to find the answer to their Tony Macaroni Arena problem

Scott isn’t far off with those remarks at all. The truth is that it’s clearly a nightmare for teams to play on and there is clearly an advantage for Livingston in keeping it as is.

There’s a wider debate to be had about whether they should even be used in the top level of Scottish football. However, so long as they’re still allowed in European competitions, it’ll be difficult to get rid of them altogether.

But it doesn’t seem to matter what group of players heads to the Tony Macaroni in a Celtic jersey. It doesn’t matter who seems to be in charge either. We consistently come up short and fail to get the result.

Photo by AMA/Corbis via Getty Images

What’s even more frustrating is that our rivals have had no such problems. Rangers have already won 2-0 in Livingston in comfortable enough fashion this season. Granted, there are question marks over whether they sit deeper and play less expansive football against us.

That’s genuinely been a problem for Ange throughout the campaign. Coming up against 5-man defences has often led to us dropping points. Whilst we found the answers against St Mirren, Livingston away is always a different prospect for us.

But if we want to be champions come May then we have to be able to see the challenge through this weekend. No excuses.

In other news, Opinion: The truth about Reo Hatate and his recent Celtic struggles