Former Celtic striker Chris Sutton has called on Ange Postecoglou’s side to end their unwanted run of form on their travels to Livingston as they get set for another trip to the Tony Macaroni Arena tomorrow afternoon.
Sutton knows the sort of task Postecoglou is going to have to face in his attempts to overcome Livi on home soil at the second time of asking, with the expectation from some at this point in time, being that Celtic will drop points on their travels to Almondvale.
Writing in his weekly column for the Daily Record, Sutton called for the Hoops to dig deep and deliver three points for the first time since 2006 when they visit Livingston, insisting that the squad must push to keep their three-point lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership.
“There is a fixture that has been circled in the calendars of Celtic fans for weeks.
“It’s the one they dread the most, the one they see as a major hurdle on the way to the Premiership title.
“It’s not the trip to Ibrox.
“It’s tomorrow’s visit to the Tony Macaroni Arena. I don’t blame them.
“The Livingston game is absolutely massive – and it’s about time Celtic won there.
“That’s how I would be going into this one. I wouldn’t be in that Celtic dressing room worrying about winless runs or hoodoos.
“I’d be thinking this side are due one from us.
“A Celtic victory at Livingston is long overdue. It’s incredible to think they have not won there in the league since 2006, but that maybe says more about Livi than it does about my old club.
“They are a remarkable story, and this hold they have over Celtic at their place is hugely impressive.
“Successive Celtic managers have gone there and struggled. Don’t forget, Brendan Rodgers could buy a win at the Spaghettihad, either.
“Ange Postecoglou failed in his first attempt there as well, but at least he will now know what to expect.
“Don’t fall for all this stuff about Livingston being simply a rough and ready route one team.
“That’s complete nonsense – and it does them a major disservice.
“They have been tough in recent years, and they are notoriously hard to beat on their own patch. We all know the surface suits them and no one else.
“But they can also play a bit.
“David Martindale has done a superb job in the last couple of years, and they are on a terrific run of form.
“So much so I actually believe Celtic fans expect to drop points there tomorrow.
“It’s almost a case of thinking it’s just as well there’s a buffer at the top of the table because the chances are there will be a slip up at Livi.
“They don’t even have that mentality going to Ibrox.
“But they should be looking at it the other way. If Celtic can get three points and smash this hoodoo against their bogey side, it would be a heck of a result to tick off and a huge step towards the title.
“They are going to have to meet the challenge head-on because they know what to expect.
“Livingston will sit deep and try to frustrate.
“But every team in the league tries to do that to Celtic. It’s no surprise it’s become a bit more of a grind in recent weeks as rival sides have seen the blueprint on how to hang tough against Postecoglou’s side.
“It’s Celtic who need to deal with it and adapt. When it gets to this stage, when Celtic and Rangers are feeling the tension, then it might come down to someone doing something special.”
So far this campaign, it hasn’t just been away from home where Postecoglou’s Celtic side have struggled against Sunday’s opposition, having dropped points at home back in October.
Since those two games that saw the Hoops drop five points, though, Ange has brought this group of players on leaps and bounds, delivering a first piece of silverware of the campaign in December, and taking his side to the top of the league.
Sunday feels like it could be a potentially defining moment in this season’s title race. Whether that is in our favour is up to those tasked with delivering three points.