With several key players and coaching staff forced to self-isolate after a disastrous trip to Dubai, hosts Celtic were forced to field a weakened team, giving the Lions a big chance of taking a positive result back to West Lothian.
Nevertheless, no matter the side Celtic fielded, it would’ve been a difficult test with Davie Martindale winning eight from eight since taking charge. The boss made one change for this one, with Steve Lawson replacing Jason Holt in the middle of midfield.
Both sides had testing efforts early on, which troubled neither Max Stryjek or Conor Hazard in the respective goals. Jon Guthrie tried his luck on the volley after a clearance from a set piece, but it flew wide of the target before Callum McGregor’s edge of the box strike sailed just over the bar.
The best chance of the first half fell to Celtic full back Jeremie Frimpong. Livi defender Ciaron Brown had dispossessed David Turnbull with a solid challenge, but the ball rolled through to Frimpong who had Stryjek to beat. The polish stopper held firm and made the one-on-one save at his front post.
Josh Mullin tried his luck from a speculative 25-yard free-kick, but his curling effort didn’t bother Hazard.
In the second half, it was Livingston who threatened first through former Celtic man Efe Ambrose. The Nigerian really should have hit the back of the net as he met Josh Mullin’s brilliant delivery from a corner, but he headed wide.
Livi were really taking the game to the hosts who were really on the ropes, and not looking like a side who’d won nine league titles on the bounce.
Scott Pittman broke forward brilliantly down the left-hand side and cut back for Josh Mullin. The winger brought the ball onto his left foot to work space for the shot before unleashing a venomous effort which Hazard watched smash the crossbar and go behind for a corner after a slight deflection via Diego Laxalt.
Despite missing a few big names, Celtic were still a threat going forward with the likes of Callum McGregor, Tom Rogic and David Turnbull trying to create attacks. But, their best chance of the game came through two of their younger players.
Anthony Ralston got down the right wing well and delivered a teasing low cross into the Livingston box. It was just waiting to be tapped in, but youngster Armstrong Okoflex couldn’t get the right contact on the ball, missing it completely.
The Lions continued to try and get all three points and were getting forward at every opportunity. Nicky Devlin, pushing high up the pitch from full back, got the ball, beat Euan Henderson before having a shot from outside the box which nearly creeped in at the back post.
It just wasn’t to be in the end for Livi, who maybe thought that they deserved all three points. But, it was a share of the spoils at Parkhead – only the second draw there in the club’s history, with the rest ending in defeats.
The sides would meet again just four days later in West Lothian, with Livingston going for their own 10-in-a-row after their 9th match unbeaten under Davie Martindale.
Celtic: Hazard, Duffy, Bitton, Soro, Turnbull, Rogic (⇔ Okoflex 80), Johnston (⇔ Henderson 66), Frimpomg, McGregor, Ralston ▊, Laxalt
Subs not used: Doohan, Taylor, Connell, Robertson, Harper, Welsh, Karamoko
Livingston: Stryjek, Brown, Ambrose, Guthrie, Devlin, Bartley ▊, Sibbald (⇔ Forrest 62), Lawson ▊, Pittman, Mullin, Robinson (⇔ Hamilton 75)
Subs not used: McCrorie, McMillan, Taylor-Sinclair, Fitzwater, Serrano, Emmanuel-Thomas, Tiffoney
Referee: John Beaton
Match Report: Calum Brown