Livi produced a heroic defensive performance to claim their first-ever away point against champions Celtic on a memorable afternoon in the east end of Glasgow.
Liam Kelly was on top form to keep Neil Lennon’s side at bay on those occasions where they did find a way through the Lions’ back line as Gary Holt’s men ensured they will finish no lower than ninth in the Ladbrokes Premiership.
The Livi boss made three changes from the win over Hamilton as Dolly Menga, Stevie Lawless and Shaun Byrne came in for Ryan Hardie, Scott Robinson and Keaghan Jacobs and the Lions came within inches of a stunning opener inside two minutes when a sloppy back pass gifted them a corner. Craig Sibbald’s deep cross was met by Craig Halkett and his header was turned goalwards by Menga but Odsonne Edouard got a crucial touch to ensure it went narrowly wide.
The home side knew a win could have seen them crowned champions tomorrow if Rangers slip up and captain Scott Brown went close to an opener on 12 minutes when he gathered possession 25 yards out and curled an effort just wide of Kelly’s left hand post. A mix-up between Halkett and Steve Lawson then presented Ryan Christie with a shooting chance four minutes later but he could only fire high over the bar.
Celtic were getting a lot of joy down the right hand side with James Forrest in fine form and he teed up Edouard on 19 minutes but his low effort was straight at Kelly. Forrest then cut inside a minute later and fired in a low effort with the outside of his right foot but Kelly produced a fine fingertip save to keep it out.
Kelly was proving unbeatable and he made another stunning save on 24 minutes, this time to deny Tom Rogic as he looked certain to turn Kieran Tierney’s low cross home. Livi then made a rare foray forward two minutes later and Menga let fly from 25 yards, forcing a fine fingertip save from Scott Bain as his strike looked set to sneak under the crossbar.
Celtic were quickly back on the front foot and Rogic got the break of the ball to get away from Lamie on 36 minutes before curling in an effort that was brilliantly kept out by Kelly once again. Lawson was then able to block the rebound before clearing the danger.
Edouard fired straight at Kelly on 42 minutes before Lamie picked up a yellow card for a foul on Forrest a minute later. The resulting free kick was gathered by Kelly as the Lions kept the scoresheet blank at the interval.
Half-time: Celtic 0-0 Livingston
The Lions made a switch at half-time as Hakeem Odoffin came on for Lamie, who had endured a torrid first half up against Forrest and was perhaps one mistimed tackle away from an early bath. Declan Gallagher then picked up a yellow card six minutes after the restart for a foul on Tierney before Edouard sent a close-range header wide under pressure moments later.
Callum McGregor was next to have a go on 53 minutes but his curling effort from the edge of the box was comfortably held by Kelly. Livi then made their second change a minute later as Robinson came on for Menga.
Filip Benkovic headed Christie’s corner over for the hosts on 62 minutes, which was his last act in the match as the on-loan Leicester defender was replaced by Jonny Hayes. Livi then made their final change three minutes later as Jacobs came on for Sibbald.
Lawson had a go from distance for the Lions on 66 minutes but saw his effort deflected wide before Halkett picked up a yellow card for a foul on Forrest in midfield. Timothy Weah then replaced Rogic for the home side five minutes later.
Kelly produced more heroics for the Lions on 73 minutes, making a superb point blank save to deny Edouard after Weah had scuffed a shot into his path. Alan Lithgow then went into ref Euan Anderson’s book three minutes later after a tangle of legs with Weah.
The home side had another chance to break the deadlock eight minutes from time but Christie could only head Tierney’s cross straight at Kelly. He was replaced by Oliver Burke moments later. Kelly came to the rescue again three minutes later, producing a vital block as Weah tried to tee up Edouard.
Luck was very much on Livi’s side in injury time, though their efforts had certainly earned it, when Kelly couldn’t hold on to the ball and it broke to Burke but, with the goal at his mercy, the Scotland international could only poke an effort wide when it looked easier to score. That allowed the Lions saw out the remainder of injury-time to secure a historic result that will live long in the memory of the Livi faithful.
Full-time: Celtic 0-0 Livingston
Celtic: Bain, Simunovic, Benkovic (Hayes 62), Ajer, Brown, McGregor, Christie (Burke 83), Rogic (Weah 70), Forrest, Tierney, Edouard
Subs not used: De Vries, Lustig, Ntcham, Sinclair
Livingston: Kelly, Lamie (Odoffin 45), Lithgow, Byrne, Pittman, Sibbald (Jacobs 64), Lawless, Halkett, Gallagher, Lawson, Menga (Robinson 54)
Subs not used: Stewart, Erskine, Tiffoney, De Vita
Referee: Euan Anderson
Match Report: Andy Crawford
Photos: Rae Irvine