In the first half, Ange Postecoglou’s team dominated the other team. Greg Taylor scored the first goal with a sweet shot across the box, and Daizen Maeda and Kyogo Furuhashi each scored on one of many chances.
After halftime, the attacks slowed down, but Celtic still won easily. Bruce Anderson’s shot from a sharp angle was Livingston’s only real threat.
Celtic smothered their guests to death. This was a great, never-ending performance, especially in the first half, which should have led to more goals.
Livingston had a hard time keeping the ball, let alone moving up the field to make a threat other than once in the first half.
It was a one-way street for Celtic because they had the ball most of the time and got it back right away if they lost it. That was unusual.
The first danger came when Jota tried to thread the ball in front of Kyogo, but the ball was a little too heavy.
Then, the Portuguese winger somehow missed from a few yards away when Maeda used his speed and skill to send the ball across the six-yard box, but it didn’t hit anyone. The goal was wide open.
Just when it looked like Livingston was going to make things hard for their hosts, Reo Hatate picked up the ball in the box and passed it back to Taylor, who was coming in from his now-familiar advanced inside left position. Taylor then shot the ball past Shamal George and into the corner.
The second came soon after. Livingston just couldn’t find a good way to clear the ball, and when they finally did, the ball went off Maeda and into the goal. His hard work paid off, and Celtic were off to a good start.
Anderson took advantage of a mistake by Joe Hart in the Livingston goal, but his shot hit the post and the follow-up shot went wide. There was no more danger from Livingston or hope for a comeback.
Celtic’s third was so easy that it had to happen. Matt O’Riley hit a good pass up the field for Kyogo. He was with Jack Fitzwater, but he bobbed and weaved his way into the box and scored his 21st goal of the season.
Celtic kept probing, but Livingston stayed calm when things got tough.
They stood their ground to stop more damage, and the first 45 minutes of the game decided the winner.
Dominant Celtic suffocate Livingston: a look at it
Postecoglou has been saying, as he did last season, that he wants his team to finish the season even stronger. He is once again getting an answer to that hope.
Celtic was totally in charge. They went after Livingston right away, and even though it took longer than expected to break through, the end result was never in doubt. It could have and should have been a lot bigger.
Livingston had a good plan, but they didn’t have much of a threat other than their one big chance, which they missed, taking their hopes with it. They will try to get back to the form they had in 2023, when they hadn’t lost a game.
It’s scary how consistent Celtic is at home. Since Postecoglou took over, they haven’t lost a league game at home, and since they lost to St. Mirren in September, they haven’t lost a game and have won almost all of them. This is a good sign that they will win the title.
What they said: “Ange Postecoglou, manager of Celtic: “We got off to a great start in the game. We knew we would have a lot of possession, but what mattered was what we did with it, and I thought we were always asking questions and probing.
“Livingston didn’t really open up in the second half, so we didn’t have a lot of chances. I still thought we were in charge, but we never reached the goal.”
Livingston manager David Martindale: “I was upset to be down 3-0 at halftime because, with the exception of the first one, I thought the other goals could have been stopped, but you have to give credit to Celtic because they put us under a lot of pressure.
“The football that Ange’s team plays is very, very good. Since they look good, now must be a good time to be a Celtics fan.”
What comes next?
Celtic still have 14 games left in the league season, so they will go to St. Johnstone on Sunday at 12:00 GMT to try to take another step toward keeping their title. Livingston hosts Kilmarnock at 15:00 on the day before, hoping to keep their spot in the top six.