CELTIC continue the countdown to the turn of the year with a Premiership confrontation against Livingston at Parkhead tomorrow night.

The West Lothian club are the first of the team’s three quickfire tests with St Johnstone due at the same venue on Christmas Eve and then a trip to face Hibs at Easter Road a week tomorrow night.

The champions resumed where they left off before the World Cup break by beating stubborn and unadventurous Aberdeen at Pittodrie on Saturday which followed the 2-1 victory over Ross County in the east end of Glasgow on November 12.

WORLD AT THEIR FEET…Celtic team-mates Josip Juranovic and Daizen Maeda in action for their countries Croatia and Japan in Qatar.

Ange Postecoglou’s men restored their nine-point advantage at the top of the league with the win in the north-east which is where their nearest challengers from Ibrox perform this evening as they attempt to reduce the lead.

Asked if the three forthcoming matches are a more vital period than others, the Greek-Australian gaffer answered: “No more or less than any other period.

“I think what was important for us was that we started off resuming after the break in a good place. For that to happen, we needed a good performance and a positive result – and both of those things happened.

“Hopefully, that gets us up and running again and for us, we try and focus on our next challenge. My planning and coaching staff know the congestion of fixtures coming up and we have a strong squad of players.

“The way we address it is to focus to on Livingston. What happens after that, we deal with after the game.”

Three of the Hoops four players on duty in Qatar were in the match day squad at Pittodrie with USA centre-back Cameron Carter-Vickers playing the entire 90-plus minutes and Japan’s Daizen Maeda replaced at half-time while Australia’s Aaron Mooy remained on the substitutes’ bench.

THE BHOY DON GOOD…Liel Abada puts his best foot forward at Pittodrie during a lively 45 minutes following his half-time substitution.

Josip Juranovic, who missed Croatia’s third-place play-off win over Morocco at the weekend through injury, will return to training next week.

Maeda netted his cuntry’s goal in the 1-1 draw with Juranovic and Co before losing out in the penalty-kick showdown. The pacy attacker was utilised by his country in a central role, despite playing mainly on the flanks for the Parkhead side.

Postecoglou hasn’t ruled out a switch inside for Meada and, speaking to Celtic TV, added: “He can definitely play there. I used him a fair bit there at Yokohama and he’s very effective down the middle with his pressing.

“For us, it’s a good option to have and obviously we have two very good strikers in Kyogo and Giorgos Giakoumakis carrying most of the load and, knock on wood, we’ve been very strong in maintaining our players on the field and not having too many injuries.

“Having Daizen as an option through the middle, I think Liel Abada can play through the middle at times, it just means we have cover if we need it.”

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