CELTIC legend John ‘Yogi’ Hughes admits he will happily accept a no-frills odd-goal win over Livingston in West Lothian in the High Noon showdown tomorrow.

The Hoops striking great, seventh-highest goalscorer in the club’s history with 189 goals, has already stated in CQNduring the week he believes Ange Postecoglou’s team WILL win the Premiership this season.

However, it may be a case of winning ugly over a team against whom they have failed to score in two previous games in this campaign – the 1-0 loss on the plastic pitch in September and 0-0 at Parkhead the following month.

In another CQN EXCLUSIVE, the Parkhead icon, speaking to author Alex Gordon, who co-wrote the fans’ favourite’s autobiography, ‘Yogi Bare: Life and Times of a Celtic Legend’, pointed out: “In my days at Celtic, wingers used to mark Tommy Gemmell.

“Ponder that for a moment. Opposing teams would sacrifice one of their attackers to keep a careful watch on our left-back. It was a complete role reversal and if it upset my old team-mate I didn’t detect it.

THE BIG SHOT…Tommy Gemmell who was marked by opposing wingers.

“Big Tommy welcomed the thought of a winger from our rivals being ordered to track him all over the pitch. Didn’t put him out of his stride and I doubt if it prevented him from being a menace to opposing keepers with his ferocious shooting from distance.

“The point I am trying to make is that teams defending in depth against Celtic is not a new innovation. It’s being going on for over half a century!

“My old club can expect some of the same when they face Livingston in West Lothian tomorrow. We know how the hosts will line up. They will try to absorb pressure and hit on the break.

“They will realise that is their best chance of success against Ange Postecoglou’s men. If they open up, they will be picked off.

“Celtic have players with pace who can get around their defence such as Liel Abada and Filipe Jota and if they provide quality crosses you have to hope Giorgos Giakoumakis or Daizen Maeda get on the end of them and put them away. Easier said than done, of course.

“I was in the Lisbon Lions stand to watch the midweek 2-0 win over St Mirren. Yes, it was a grind. The main thing, though, was the three points.

“With nine games to play, that is what it is all about. No-one loves watching Celtic winning with a flourish, style, polish and adventure than me.

“That’s what I was brought up with at the club. Jock Stein wanted us to win AND entertain at the same time. He reminded of us that constantly before kick-off and those were his words ringing in our ears when we left the dressing room and headed down the tunnel for each and every game.

YOGI ON THE RAMPAGE…John Hughes menaces the St Johnstone defence in the 1969 League Cup Final.

“But Big Jock never complained if we got over the line by sheer tenacity and will to win. I recall we didn’t particularly enjoy playing Stirling Albion on their tight, little Annfield pitch.

“The fans were just about on top of you and the conditions suited the home team. Just as they will tomorrow in Livingston.

“If we got an odd-goal win at Annfield, I can’t remember Big Jock ever complaining about our standard of play.

“I’ll take a 1-0 against Livi, the ball going in off a defender’s backside. Even before a ball is kicked, you and I know it will be that sort of game.

“Celtic will be allowed possession in areas that won’t hurt David Martindale’s side, but when we get into danger zones you will see yellow jerseys swarming all over our players.

“Livi are highly dangerous on the break. I saw their goals in the 4-0 win at Dundee. Those were lightning strikes that knocked the stuffing out of the home team.

“Two of the first three goals in the opening half came from low crosses from the right any striker would welcome. It was a case of just applying the finishing touch and the keeper’s next task was to pick the ball out of his net.

“So, we must beware. I don’t think Big Ange needs me to tell him that. He lost at the venue earlier in the campaign, but, by his own admission, his team has evolved since then.

“Mistakes were made and punished in his first visit to the place. Lessons will have been learned.

“Let’s hope we put that knowledge to a good use and Celtic can add another three points to the total as we count down the games to the finishing line.”



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