The Lions are back in front of the Sky cameras this Sunday as they welcome seven-in-a-row champions Celtic to the Tony Macaroni Arena for the first time in almost 12 years.
Not since a 4-1 Scottish Cup win for Gordon Strachan’s Hoops back in February 2007 have the Lions hosted Celtic’s first team, though they did enjoy a 5-1 win over their Colts side in the Irn Bru Cup in 2016.
The Lions are still searching for their first ever win over the Hoops having lost 3-1 at Parkhead on the opening day of the season., but what better time to get it than on the big stage with a TV audience?
With that in mind, let’s look ahead to the big game!
How have the Hoops done since that opening-day clash?
The Hoops suffered a dip in form after that win on matchday one as they crashed out of the Champions League 3-1 on aggregate to AEK Athens, also losing 1-0 to Hearts in between the two legs of their European tie.
They then won three of their next four across three competitions, knocking Partick Thistle out of the Betfred Cup 3-1 before seeing off Suduva 4-1 over two legs to reach the Europa League group stage. They ended August with a 1-0 win over Hamilton at Celtic Park.
September started with a 1-0 win in the first Glasgow derby of the season, though the margin of victory should have been far greater. They then failed to win their next two in the league, following up a goalless draw at St Mirren with a last-gasp 2-1 defeat to Kilmarnock at Rugby Park.
They did make a winning start to their Europa League group, a late Leigh Griffiths sealing a 1-0 win over Rosenborg. Back-to-back 1-0 wins ended the month as they knocked St Johnstone out of the Betfred Cup before seeing off Aberdeen at home in the Premiership.
After starting October with a 3-1 defeat to Salzburg in Austria, the Hoops burst into life domestically as they demolished St Johnstone 6-0 at McDiarmid Park before winning a thriller 4-2 against Hibs at Celtic Park. Their Euro chances were dented by a 2-0 defeat in Leipzig but they continued to sweep everyone before them aside at home, putting eight goals past Hearts without reply in two matches either side of a 5-0 rout of bottom side Dundee.
Brendan Rodgers’ side come into Sunday’s match having renewed their hopes of reaching the knockout stages of the Europa League as they avenged their earlier loss to Leipzig with a 2-1 win under the disco lights at Celtic Park to move level on points with the German side.
What has Gary Holt had to say about this weekend’s clash?
The Lions boss called on his players to embrace the challenge of taking on the double-treble winners, saying: “This club has worked really hard to get to this level and earn the right to be hosting teams like Celtic in front of a full house and we need to go out there and embrace the fact that we’re now at that level.
“Why would we suddenly get worried about it being against Celtic or the fact that it’s live on TV? Let’s embrace it, let’s have a go and show what we can do.”
The gaffer also played down the significance of the match in shaping their season, but warned Brendan Rodgers’ players not to expect an easy ride, saying:: “We’re playing against a team that has won back-to-back trebles and could very well do it again this year, but there’s nothing to fear. This game isn’t going to define our season.
“Yes, we want to do well and yes we want to win the game or at least take something out of it. But the one thing I know is that come the end of the 90 minutes, Celtic will know they’ve been in a game.”
Is there any team news ahead of the big game?
Ryan Hardie remains out of action after his injury setback, as do long term casualties Lee Miller and Raffaele De Vita. Otherwise the Lions are at full strength for the clash with the champions.
The Hoops will be without several big names for their trip to West Lothian including captain Scott Brown, Leigh Griffiths and Olivier Ntcham. Kristoffer Ajer could be set for a return at centre-half with Filip Benkovic possibly rested after four games in 12 days.
What do the bookies make of Saturday’s match?
Unsurprisingly, the Hoops are red hot favourites to continue their storming recent domestic form with league sponsors Ladbrokes offering odds of just 2/9 on an away victory. The Lions are 14/1 to claim their first win over Celtic while a draw can be backed at 5/1.
The only time the Lions avoided defeat to the Hoops was a goalless draw in their first ever meeting back in 2001. If you fancy a repeat of that on Sunday, than can also be backed at 14/1.
Can I still get tickets?
There are a very limited number of home end tickets still available for Sunday’s match and stadium reception will be open from 10am-2pm on Saturday for last-minute sales. The prices are as follows:
* Full time students on production of a current matriculation card, U18s, registered disabled (if with a carer and under 65 full price paid but carer admitted free)
Please note that, in accordance with police advice, there will be NO tickets available on the day of the game.
What about a match programme?
You can download this week’s edition of ROAR, the Lions’ matchday magazine, by clicking here.
What if I can’t get a ticket?
The match is live on Sky Sports Main Event (Sky channel 401, Virgin 501) and Sky Sports Football (Sky channel 403, Virgin 503) – the match kicks off at 12noon with coverage beginning at 11.30am.
If you can’t get to a TV, we will have live text commentary on our Twitter feed @LiviFCOfficial highlights can be seen on ‘Sportscene’, which is shown on BBC Two Scotland at 6pm on Sunday evening.
I’ve got my ticket, is there anything else I should be aware of?
Fans travelling to the match should note that only coaches and minibuses are permitted to park at the north end of the stadium, with parking costing £10 per bus.
All other vehicles – except for players, match officials, disabled badge holders, car park permit holders and hospitality guests – will be directed to West Lothian College for park, thus giving better entry to and exit from both the stadium and college after the match. Parking at the college will be charged at £5.
Why not leave the car at home and take the bus? Our travel partners First Scotland East are offering 20% off a West Lothian day ticket on presentation of a season ticket card or match ticket. Check out their website here for details of services which pass near the stadium.
If you fancy a pint or bite to eat before the game, both the Lion’s Den bar (main stand) and the Almondvale Suite (south stand) are open for both sets of supporters from 11am until kick off and then again from full-time until 6pm.
We look forward to seeing you on Sunday!