June 7, 2023
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Celtic restored their nine-point lead at the summit of the Scottish Premiership after overcoming stubborn Livingston.

Ayo Obileye’s own goal and a close-range Kyogo Furuhashi finish put the dominant hosts in control in Glasgow.

But an instant reply through Nicky Devlin seconds before the break threatened an unlikely comeback.

Liel Abada had a third controversially ruled out after a VAR check, but Celtic still closed out the game comfortably.

Ange Postecoglou’s side, who enjoyed the vast majority of chances but failed to put the result beyond doubt, have won both matches since returning from the World Cup break, while Livingston remain sixth after their first game in over a month.

What was never in doubt was the direction of travel for the majority of this contest.

Celtic attacked with utter relentlessness from the off with Livingston forced into reverse gear. What was unexpected was how cagey this would become.

Reo Hatate was first to threaten with a dangerous low cross, then thundered a shot just past.

Anthony Ralston was next with a shot just over before releasing Abada scampering down the right. His cross was accurate but Obileye got in a fankle and diverted home to unlock the door. The last thing Livingston needed as they tried to hang in, but a deserved outcome if not a touch fortunate.

Celtic combined, probed and urgently harried on the rare occasions they lost possession. Livingston were still alive in the game, but couldn’t get out.

But when it eventually arrived, the second, and ultimately decisive goal, was exquisite.

Ralston picked out Abada with a tremendous ball inside the wing back. His cross was first time, as was Kyogo’s finish, as he slammed home from close range just before half-time.

That was that, or so everyone thought. How many more was the question?

Devlin, on his 100th Livingston appearance, had other ideas. He muscled into Celtic’s box, withheld a challenge and poked home exposing a moment of slackness 90 seconds after Celtic’s second.

The hosts’ rhythm was disrupted. Things didn’t flow as easily. Passes were off target, shots became more scarce. The outcome became less straightforward.

That idea intensified when Stephen Kelly battered a first-time shot on the volley but Joe Hart responded well.

Abada had a strike ruled out for offside as Livingston refused to relent, with referee Euan Anderson going to the screen following a lengthy pause.

Celtic got over the line. They deserved the victory, but it was far less straightforward than it might have been.

Player of the match – Liel Abada

Liel Abada
Liel Abada was always a threat on the wing and provided two assists which proved vital. He might have had one or two goals to add to his impressive numbers on a different night

Postecoglou will have private frustrations – analysis

This was a curious encounter.

Celtic were coasting, cruising towards Ivan Konovalov’s goal with wave after wave and could have been ought of sight with better finishing.

That was until Devlin’s goal just before half-time.

Livingston’s performance vastly improved with some tactical and personnel changes and it was a far more even contest in the second half. They will take real positives from that.

Yes, Celtic had more of the ball but struggled to create clear opportunities. There was always a nagging thought that Livingston might just somehow nick a second.

It’s a 10th straight Premiership win for Postecoglou’s side. That regained their nine-point cushion over Rangers, but the manager will have private frustrations about how this game developed.

What they said

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou: “I thought the performance wasn’t one of our best. The first half was OK – but I’m disappointed that we had balls across the box and we didn’t have bodies in those areas.

“At 2-0 the game should have been over for us. When you’re faced with teams sitting back you’ve got to find ways of getting in behind.”

Livingston manager David Martindale: “I think it was a fair outcome. We were always in the game. I was disappointed in the manner of the two goals.

“We managed to get ourselves back in the game and there was a spell in the second half, maybe 15-20 minutes, when the game was more competitive and we got more pressure on the ball in the final third.”

What next?

Celtic host St Johnstone on Saturday (12:30 GMT) looking to stretch their winning run and, at least, maintain the cushion over Rangers.

Livingston travel to a Hibernian side struggling for points and will go there with encouragement (14:00).

Player of the match

KellyStephen Kelly


  1. Squad number11Player nameAbada

  2. Squad number42Player nameMcGregor

  3. Squad number56Player nameRalston

  4. Squad number41Player nameHatate

  5. Squad number20Player nameCarter-Vickers

  6. Squad number33Player nameO’Riley

  7. Squad number3Player nameTaylor

  8. Squad number17Player nameJota

  9. Squad number4Player nameStarfelt

  10. Squad number1Player nameHart

  11. Squad number8Player nameFuruhashi

  12. Squad number25Player nameBernabei

  13. Squad number7Player nameGiakoumakis

  14. Squad number9Player nameHaksabanovic

  15. Squad number14Player nameTurnbull

  16. Squad number13Player nameMooy


  1. Squad number17Player nameKelly

  2. Squad number31Player nameKonovalov

  3. Squad number9Player nameAnderson

  4. Squad number18Player nameHolt

  5. Squad number2Player nameDevlin

  6. Squad number10Player nameEsmael Gonçalves

  7. Squad number8Player namePittman

  8. Squad number29Player namePenrice

  9. Squad number5Player nameFitzwater

  10. Squad number22Player nameShinnie

  11. Squad number11Player nameCristian Montaño

  12. Squad number3Player nameLongridge

  13. Squad number15Player nameBoyes

  14. Squad number6Player nameObileye

  15. Squad number33Player nameOméonga

  16. Squad number24Player nameKelly



Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Hart
  • 56RalstonSubstituted forBernabeiat 56′minutesBooked at 86mins
  • 20Carter-Vickers
  • 4Starfelt
  • 3Taylor
  • 33O’RileySubstituted forMooyat 82′minutes
  • 42McGregor
  • 41HatateSubstituted forTurnbullat 64′minutes
  • 11Abada
  • 8FuruhashiBooked at 62minsSubstituted forGiakoumakisat 82′minutes
  • 17Neves FilipeSubstituted forHaksabanovicat 64′minutes


  • 6Jenz
  • 7Giakoumakis
  • 9Haksabanovic
  • 13Mooy
  • 14Turnbull
  • 25Bernabei
  • 31Siegrist
  • 38Maeda
  • 49Forrest


Formation 5-4-1

  • 31Konovalov
  • 2Devlin
  • 5Fitzwater
  • 6ObileyeSubstituted forBoyesat 45′minutesBooked at 77mins
  • 3Longridge
  • 11MontañoBooked at 57minsSubstituted forShinnieat 69′minutes
  • 17Kelly
  • 33OméongaBooked at 47minsSubstituted forPittmanat 70′minutes
  • 24KellySubstituted forHoltat 69′minutes
  • 29Penrice
  • 9AndersonSubstituted forEsmael Gonçalvesat 76′minutes


  • 7Bahamboula
  • 8Pittman
  • 10Esmael Gonçalves
  • 15Boyes
  • 18Holt
  • 19Nouble
  • 22Shinnie
  • 25Cancar
  • 32Hamilton

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