Livingston have denied Celtic the chance to go top of the table after a spirited 0-0 draw at Celtic Park to extend Livi’s unbeaten run against the Parkhead side to three games
The Lions made three changes from the midweek draw with Dundee United, defender Tom Parkes makes his first league start for David Martindale’s side with Stephane Omeonga and Andrew Shinnie returning from injury while Ben Williamson – suspended after his midweek red card – Scott Pittman and Alan Forrest made way.
The visitors were huge underdogs to take anything from the game and set about trying to frustrate their hosts, largely succeeding in the opening 45 as they restricted Celtic to only a handful of clear cut chances.
For their part, Celtic were limited to firing cross after cross into the Livi box in an attempt to break the deadlock but had little joy as the resolute Livingston defence dealt with everything Ange Postecoglou’s side had to throw at them in the first half.
The best chance before the break came shortly before referee Bobby Madden brought proceedings to a close as in-form full-back Anthony Ralston saw his effort cleared of the line as Celtic’s dominance of possession was almost rewarded.
After the second 45 continued in a similar vein to the first, Celtic were forced into a change fifteen minutes after the restart when Carl Starfelt was forced off injured and the centre-back was replaced by Kyogo Furuhashi.
Celtic continued to pile the pressure on the Livi defence but the Lions’ rearguard stood firm as the minutes ticked away and the frustration grew amongst the Parkhead crowd and players.
With less than 10 minutes left, Livi felt they had a really strong shout for a penalty when Ayo Obileye was clattered at a corner and required lengthy treatment – however referee Bobby Madden saw nothing in it and waved away Livingston’s appeals.
Replays showed the ref got it badly wrong – although you likely won’t see Chris Sutton or John Hartson taking to Twitter to highlight this one – and Livi should have had a spot-kick after Hart missed the ball completely and smashed the Livingston star in the mouth, leaving blood pouring from a gash.
There was more late drama with Obileye sent off in injury-time after lashing out at Kyogo but Giakomakis’ effort was saved by Max Stryjek, with the Greek star missed another gilt-edged chance moments later, to secure a thoroughly deserved point for Livi.
Celtic: Hart, Ralston, Starfelt, Carter-Vickers, Juranovic, Bitton, McGregor, Abada, Turnbull, Jota, Giakoumakis.
Substitutes: Bain, Kyogo, McCarthy, Johnstone, Forrest, Montgomery, Welsh.
Livingston: Stryjek, Devlin, Fitzwater, Obileye, Parkes, Kelly, Holt, Omeonga, Bailey, Shinnie, Anderson.
Substitutes: Maley, Longridge, McMillan, Jacobs, Montano, Forrest, Panayiotou.
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