Livingston’s winning run came to an end but it was far from doom and gloom for the Lions, who came away from a trip to Celtic with a good 0-0 draw.
A cagey first half opened up in the second with a flurry of chances in its opening exchanges, the Lions having the best of them as they came inches away from a goal on two occasions. But a stalemate would be played out as Livi go unbeaten in nine, the first draw in that run.
David Martindale’s side were flying heading into this one, winning eight games on the spin since he took over as manager. Against a Celtic side diminished by Covid-19 problems, 13 Hoops players out via due to a track and trace situation following a warm weather trip to Dubai, they fancied their chances at Parkhead.
But this was still going to be a tough test for Martindale, big players such as David Turnbull, Callum McGregor, Tom Rogic, Jeremie Frimpong, Ismaila Soro and Diego Laxalt all involved. Livi didn’t have many chances in the first half.
Jon Guthrie and Josh Mullin had chances for the visitors as did Frimpong and McGregor for the hosts. The second half is where things did open up after a goalless first 45, Scott Robinson shaving the Celtic post before the hour.
Then after it, a corner was launched into the box, Efe Ambrose arrowing a free header over the bar against his former employers, missing another 15 minutes from time. While neither goalkeeper had really been tested, it was Martindale’s men who were coming closest to a goal.
The clock was ticking down though and it looked as if one goal could be enough to settle proceedings at Parkhead, Mullin coming ever so close with a powerful effort cracking the crossbar. Armstrong Oko-Flex then came so close to a winner, Anthony Ralston’s ball into the box begging to be tapped home but the youngster couldn’t do it, 0-0 it finished. Here are three things we learned.
Livi keeper Max Stryjek didn’t really have much to do in this encounter outside a few catches and crosses, although the late Oko-Flex chance did cause scare. Instead, Livi had the best chances at Parkhead.
Ambrose, Mullin and Robinson had the best of the opportunities as a winning run of eight in a row comes to an end. But given it’s a point away to Parkhead and still unbeaten, Martindale will be pleased.
Sign of the times
One of the astounding factors from this game was one of the pre-match talking points of Livi being fancied for a result. Yes, Livi have been on a great run and Celtic were on their knees, but they still have vast squad depth compared to most other teams in Scotland.
Against international players that were still facing them up, Livi were tipped by many to take at least a point from this, and they did. It’s a big compliment for Martindale’s men who have made great strides in the last eight weeks.
These two will go again this Wednesday when Celtic this time are the visitors as Livingston host the champions. A similar performance to this and Martindale’s men could get at least some reward.
An added dynamic to the midweek fixture is the return of Celtic’s top stars from isolation, meaning the team will likely look different to the team they faced at Parkhead. But this gives them an idea of the intensity they will need to meet in order to get a point at least.