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Livingston logo
Scottish Premiership | Gameweek 31
Mar 31, 2024 at 12pm UK
Tony Macaroni Arena
Celtic logo

0 - 3

Devlin (46')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Brandon (49' og.), Bernardo (72'), O'Riley (82')

Preview: Livingston vs. Celtic - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Scottish Premiership clash between Livingston and Celtic, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Two teams competing at opposite ends of the table come together on Sunday afternoon when bottom-of-the-league Livingston host title-chasing Celtic at the Tony Macaroni Arena.

The hosts are bottom of the Scottish Premiership and 10 points behind the next worst-placed Ross County, while the visitors are fighting tooth and nail with rivals Rangers for the championship.

Match preview

Livingston manager David Martindale reacts on March 10, 2024© Reuters

David Martindale's side have had an extremely disappointing time this season, taking just 17 points from their 30 games played with three wins and eight draws.

That poor record has already confirmed this as Livingston's worst campaign in the Scottish top flight since joining the league thanks to incredible back-to-back promotions in 2017 and 2018, never finishing lower than ninth in their six seasons in the Premiership.

The warning signs were there for the Lions at the end of last year, finishing with their lowest goals-scored tally, 36, and their highest number of goals conceded, 60, since joining the division in 2018-19.

With just three games remaining before the split, of which two are against sides within the top three, Livingston are guaranteed to head into the post-split matches at the bottom of the table.

If they are to survive for a seventh consecutive season in the Scottish Premiership, then Martindale's men will have to pull off a miraculous recovery as they currently trail the next worst-placed side Ross County by 10 points.

While the post-split matches will give Livingston the chance to make those points up with five matches against the current bottom six of the Premiership, they have only managed to win two times against those sides this season with wins against Hibernian and Motherwell, which came in August and October.

That leaves the Lions with just one win in their previous 22 league encounters, a 1-0 win over St Mirren in mid-February.

As for Celtic, they head into this game in an extremely tight ongoing battle for the Scottish Premiership title against fierce rivals Rangers, with just one point separating the two sides prior to this weekend's round of matches.

Celtic's Kyogo Furuhashi celebrates scoring their fourth goal with James Forrest and Paulo Bernardo on March 10, 2024© Reuters

Despite coming into this tie against Livingston occupying the top spot, Rangers do hold the advantage of a game in hand over Celtic which could see them move two points ahead in the title race.

Brendan Rodgers's side will be confident of staying within touching distance of their rivals though, having only lost three times all season and only one of those defeats coming since the turn of the year, when they lost 2-0 to Hearts at the beginning of March.

Celtic quickly bounced back from that result though, as they beat Sunday's opponents 4-2 in the Scottish Cup, immediately returning to winning ways at their first attempt.

However, the Bhoys will be hoping for a much easier tie than that eventual 4-2 victory as Livingston fought back on two separate occasions and kept the tie level heading into the final five minutes, when Celtic's winning goals eventually came from Daizen Maeda, who secured his hat-trick, and Kyogo Furuhashi.

That victory marked Celtic's seventh consecutive win over the Lions, with the last time the Bhoys failed to win in this fixture coming in October 2021 in an encounter that saw former striker Giorgos Giakoumakis fail to convert a last-minute penalty as the match ended in a goalless stalemate.

Livingston Scottish Premiership form:

Livingston form (all competitions):

Celtic Scottish Premiership form:

Celtic form (all competitions):

Team News

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers reacts on March 10, 2024© Reuters

Martindale will have the advantage of a fully fit squad to choose from for this game after avoiding any fresh injury concerns in their recent matches.

Livingston will also be boosted by the return of Dan MacKay, who scored in the previous meeting between these two sides, after the midfielder was ineligible for their match against his parent club Hibernian last time out.

Celtic will remain without a whole host of key players due to injury for this one.

Reo Hatate, Luis Palma, James McCarthy, Maik Nawrocki and Liam Scales are all expected to be unavailable until early April.

Captain Callum McGregor will also extend his stay on the sidelines due to an Achilles tendon injury he sustained against Dundee FC in February.

Livingston possible starting lineup:
George; Brandon, Obileye, Sean Kelly, Montano; Bradley, Carson, Holt, Nouble; Stephen Kelly; Yengi

Celtic possible starting lineup:
Hart; Johnston, Carter-Vickers, Welsh, Taylor; O'Riley, Iwata, Bernardo; Kuhn, Furuhashi, Maeda

SM words green background

We say: Livingston 0-3 Celtic

Celtic have not lost a meeting between these two sides since a 1-0 victory for Livingston in September 2021, while they have also kept clean sheets against the Lions in all of their last three league encounters.

Martindale's side have struggled for goals at home this season, scoring a league-low nine times when playing in front of their home crowd, so we expect them to draw a blank again in a comfortable defeat this weekend.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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General view inside Celtic's stadium before the match on January 21, 2024
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rhs 2.0
Today's games header
Tables header RHS
Championship Group
5St Mirren51134652-647
Relegation Group
4St Johnstone51132954-2535
5Ross County51223867-2935
First Phase
5St Mirren33127143843-543
10St Johnstone33710162446-2231
11Ross County3379173256-2430

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