Livi ended a run of 20 consecutive defeats to Celtic as they claimed a thoroughly-deserved goalless draw against the seven-in-a-row champions at the Tony Macaroni Arena.
Brendan Rodgers’ side had scored 23 goals in their previous five domestic games but a typically resolute defensive performance from the Lions kept them at bay as they picked up their first point against the Glasgow giants since 2001.
Livi boss Gary Holt made three changes from the defeat to Hamilton as Bobby Burns, Keaghan Jacobs and Stevie Lawless came in for Ricki Lamie, Jack McMillan and Craig Sibbald.
The match was slow to get going, and it was 15 minutes before either side had a sight of goal as a long throw from Alan Lithgow fell to Scott Pittman and he teed up Craig Halkett but his shot was charged down by Mikael Lustig. The visitors had their first effort six minutes later as James Forrest’s cross found Scott Sinclair at the back post but he didn’t get enough on his header and could only glance it wide.
Shaun Byrne picked up a yellow card on 28 minutes after he was adjudged to have dived in attempting to win a free kick before Liam Kelly pulled off a stunning point blank save low to his right to keep out Ryan Christie after the former Inverness man had been played through by Sinclair.
That seemed to spark the champions into life and they went close again on 34 minutes when Sinclair got in behind but Kelly was quick to react once again and also managed to win a goal kick as his save cannoned the ball back off the Celtic man.
Livi finished the half strongly and forced a succession of corners, two of which were met by Declan Gallagher who saw his headers well tipped over by Scott Bain. He also got on the end of a third with a header that forced an even better save from Bain but Jacobs’ corner had swerved out of play as the Lions went in at the break level.
Half-time: Livingston 0-0 Celtic
The second half started in a similar fashion to the first with a frenetic pace but little in the way of goalmouth action. The Lions were the first to threaten on 56 minutes as a Lithgow long throw caused chaos in the Celtic box but when the ball broke to Steve Lawson at the edge of the box he could only curl his effort wide.
There was a scare for Livi as Shaun Byrne appeared to injure his knee but he was able to continue after treatment before another Lithgow throw was flicked on by Gallagher before Halkett’s low cross was clear. The visitors then made the game’s first change on 61 minutes as Lewis Morgan came on for Forrest.
Celtic were starting to exert themselves more on proceedings and a corner was blocked by Lithgow before Kelly was able to gather. Livi made their first change on 71 minutes as Scott Robinson replaced Lawless before Kristoffer Ajer came off worse in a clash of heads with Halkett, suffering a fractured eye socket that saw him replaced by Filip Benkovic.
Livi then made their second change on 79 minutes as Byrne went off to be replaced by Sibbald before Kelly produced a quite magnificent save to deny Rogic as he stretched every sinew to get a fingertip to the Australian international’s curling effort from just inside the box.
Christie and Sinclair saw long range efforts fly high over the bar as the Hoops started to run out of ideas. Henk van Schaik replaced Dolly Menga in injury time for his Livi debut as the Lions held out for another hugely impressive result on their top-flight return.
Full-time: Livingston 0-0 Celtic
Livingston: Gallagher, Halkett, Lithgow, Burns, Lawless (Robinson 71), Byrne (Sibbald 79), Jacobs, Lawson, Pittman, Menga (Van Schaik 90)
Subs not Used: Stewart, Kaja, Hamilton, Cadden
Celtic: Bain, Lustig, Boyata, Ajer (Benkovic 72), Tierney, McGregor, Rogic, Christie, Forrest (Morgan 62), Sinclair, Edouard
Subs not used: Hazard, Hendry, Hayes, Mulumbu, Ralston
Referee: Kevin Clancy
Match Report: Andy Crawford
Photos: Rae Irvine