Livingston Pre-match with A Celtic State of Mind

ALAN MORRISON:

Celtic’s only SPFL apocalypse thus far was in the Tony Macaroni arena where the champions were bullied and belittled by a well-drilled home side marshalled by Sergeant Major Willard, I mean Holt.

It was a chastening experience on the plastic. And frustratingly only Livingston’s second home win of the season.

This time they need to deal with Celtic’s pristine hybrid pitch on top of an away record of 4 losses in 5. Strangely, Livingston have scored and conceded in every away match and 26 goals have come from those 7 ties.

Celtic are averaging 3.8 goals per home SPFL match and haven’t conceded in the last 3.”

Livingston are 7th, but rank 8th for shots attempted and 5th for number of shots on target. Indeed, with 43% requiring action they match the Hearts, the Hibs and The Rangers (is that a song?).

At the other end, only St Johnstone have fewer clean sheets.

There really should be goals, then.

Livingston tend to score earlier but concede later, whilst Celtic are likely to strike at any time. Should Celtic score first, a recovery from the visitors is unlikely. Livingston are one of three sides who have thus far failed to gain points from losing positions.

Despite the shocking white hair and prickly style of Dykes, Livingston’s main threat this season is ex-Partick Thistle stalwart Lawless with 5 goals and 2 assists in league play, averaging 0.6 scoring contributions per 90m.

The 0-2 reverse looks a real anomaly as it was their only win in the last 9 SPFL matches.

I’d go for a 4-1 home win with Forrest to get back amongst the goals.

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COLIN WATT:

Returning from international duty, The Bhoys take on Livingston in a rare Saturday 3 o’clock kick-off. A reminder for all fans going that the annual foodbank collection is taking place on the Celtic Way before the game, so please give generously.

With Mo Elyounoussi seemingly out for this game, it will be interesting who starts on the left-hand side for the Celts. Jonny “Helicopter” Hayes is now being more suited at left-back, so it narrows the choices down to Scott Sinclair and Lewis Morgan. Perhaps a returning Maryan Shved could come into contention for this tie?

Personally, I think Lennon will trust Sinclair to make his return and we could see a new hunger from the Englishman to try and make that left-midfield spot his own once again.“

Most of the other positions pick themselves these days and I expect very few changes from the side that beat Motherwell last time out. Greg Taylor could come in at left-back over Hayes but I would expect Jeremie Frimpong to keep his berth at right-back.

The return of Griffiths to the match squad gives Lennon a different option in these sorts of games, where we expect two banks of five for Celtic to break down. Griffiths’ instinct of shooting on sight could help change a game and his pace coming off the bench is an added boost.

Visitors Livingston come into the game without a win since Celtic visited the Spaghettiad back in October, with only 2 points out of 15, there is little to suggest things will change for their visit to the champions.

My prediction is Celtic 4 Livingston 0 and Ryan Christie to score anytime.

KEVIN GRAHAM:

It doesn’t seem too long ago since that forgettable day at Livingston; it’s as though it’s too early to be facing them again. It feels like the last time we scored against them, they were called Ferranti Thistle. Their kits just appear to be our kryptonite and we are unable to overcome their strengths. We need to find the key and the secret, though.
 
We are now at the run-in towards the winter break and the games are coming thick and thicker. The squad will need to be utilised and players managed. That we have qualified for the Europa League knock-out stages might allow us some wiggle room. In the league we have no wiggle room has we have blown that.
 
The longer we go without scoring then the more restless we will get. With Livingston comes nothing but recent bad memories and that will be in our minds and on our breaths. That we now have a challenger worthy of the word adds to tension, which truthfully has been present in every game we have played since Rodgers left.
 
I want the team to destroy Livingston. I want an early goal and the game done and dusted by half-time. Though the three points are the most important thing and we will get them with Ntcham scoring.

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