LAST month, Celtic were held to a 1-1 draw by Shakhtar Donetsk in Warsaw in their second Champions League encounter a week after losing 3-0 in the opener to Real Madrid at Parkhead.
Ange Postecoglou and his players rued a missed opportunity in Europe’s most prestigious competition after having 56 per cent of the possession against the Ukrainians.
The Hoops had 16 shots to the hosts’ five, with six on target against two from Shakhtar.
Daizen Maeda and Giorgis Giakoumakis both missed excellent opportunities late in the game and, ultimately, the failure to take advantage of their superiority backfired big-style on the Parkhead club.
DON’T WATCH NOW…Ange Postecoglou discusses tomorrow’s Premiership match at Livingston.
However, as the manager and his stars wondered how they allowed victory to escape them in the Polish capital, things got a lot worse in Paisley three days later as the champions nosedived to a 2-0 reverse against St Mirren for their first league defeat one day short of a year.
It was by far the worst display by Postecoglou’s side in the current crusade as they were bullied by the Buddies and surrendered three precious Premiership points with a puzzling whimper of a performance.
Tomorrow, after another 1-1 stalemate with Shakhtar Donetsk that killed off European hopes for the remainder of the season, the Hoops take on Livingston at everyone’s least favourite away ground in West Lothian.
Postecoglou will beware an action replay in the midday kick-off at the Tony Macaroni Arena where he has had two outings, a 1-0 defeat in September last year and a 3-1 win in March as the team remained on course for its tenth title in 11 years.
OOPS…Mark O’Hara gets a free header at the back post as he leaves Joe Hart helpless to put St Mirren ahead.
OOPS…Stephen Welsh is clearly pushed out of the way as David Oyunga notches the second killer goal.
The 57-year-old Greek-Australian gaffer is aware of what to expect from David Martindale’s men and insists: “There’s no right and wrong way to play the game, mate.
“I think people sell Livingston short if they think they are one dimensional. They work awfully hard, but that’s the basis of every football team. It’s the basis of our team. It doesn’t matter where they are on the ladder or what style they play.
“Yeah, the styles between the sides might be a bit different, but both teams pride themselves on their hard work. From our perspective, we need to match it.”
Postecoglou, speaking to The Scotsman, added: “It’s always going to be a challenge there.
“I don’t think the challenge changes regardless of the result in March. Obviously, we went there and lost the first one there earlier in the season. We embraced the challenge in the return encounter.
“I think it was a really strong performance on the day. That’s what we are looking for again this weekend.”