Celtic comfortably won on our last visit to Livingston, in March. Prior to that, we endured three draws and two defeats since our previous win, during Gordon Strachan’s second season in charge. There are excuses given for what by any means is a bogy team, specifically, the plastic pitch.
We regularly see Celtic struggle to get their passing game right at Livingston and Kilmarnock, even defending can be haphazard, as Stephen Welsh discovered when anticipating a through-ball early last season. Excuses, though, are the refuge of the loser. We know they have a plastic pitch, we have a plastic training pitch and more than enough of a Brains Trust to figure out how to win. If the result is not to our liking, I don’t want to hear anything about the surface.
While not quite catenaccio, Livi have mastered the low scoring game. St Mirren are the only team to score twice against them in the league since August, and that required a 90th minute breakaway. Don’t think that they are in good form, though, St Mirren and Ross County both beat them this month, County on the plastic.
When the pitch is poor, we have to go direct on occasion, so Giorgos Giakoumakis will surely lead the line. James Forrest may also get the nod after a couple of impressive recent performances. I would also be tempted to rest our first-choice full backs. Anthony Ralston’s crossing ability, in particular, may prove useful.