Before we get into the meat of the matter, I would like to record how impactful Kristoffer Ajer is at full back. He is not a full back, of course, this is not even his second best position, but he can get beyond his man and send a dangerous cross into the heart of the penalty box. This marks him as unique in our full back options. Of the many lessons from the season, let one be that we need better full backs at both sides of the field.
Conceding fouls inside your own half is not considered a capital crime at other clubs, so we should temper our annoyance at Shane Duffy (or the absent, but often guilty, Diego Laxalt), but we all know Celtic cannot defend set-pieces. At Livingston’s first goal, it was the otherwise excellent Kris Ajer who failed to track his man, not Nir Bitton, who stuck like glue to his opponent but was blamed by a scapegoat seeking Sky co-commentator.
When Livingston breached the Celtic defence for a second time, I was not concerned, as we were playing well and I expected a 30-minute onslaught towards the Livingston goal. Instead, Livingston consolidated their position, aided by four substitutions in 17 minutes either side of the goal, which finished Celtic as a threat. Credit to David Martindale.
Scott Brown’s ‘Get stuck into them’ cameo might have worked in a different era. We have seen similar flailing arms go completely unpunished against us, but it was the last thing we needed last night. By full time, the Livingston pitch resembled a very appropriate white flag.