CELTIC suffered a shock defeat to away to Livingston after playing the majority of the match with 10 men. Ryan Christie’s sending off preceded two goals from the home side in the second half.
Scott Robinson put his side ahead just after the break and Lydon Dykes doubled the lead for Livingston.Some slick play between Edouard and Forrest yielded the first opportunity for Celtic 10 minutes after kick-off.
After collecting Forrest’s return ball into the box, Edouard cut inside but with no room to get a clear shot off he cut a pass back. Forrest was swarmed by opposition defenders and couldn’t direct his effort on target.
Livingston had a couple of opportunities themselves within the first 15 minutes. Scott Robinson had his shot from inside the box blocked and Jon Guthrie’s side footed effort from a cross wasn’t far off target.
Celtic capitalised on the opportunity to punish their opponents whenever they looked to create something in the final third with quick transitions into attack. Christopher Jullien intercepted a stray pass and burst forward before feeding the ball through to Edouard but the shot from just inside the box was straight at the keeper.
Midway through the first half Celtic were dealt a blow when Ryan Christie was sent off. The midfielder made a lunging tackle on Robinson on the halfway line and was shown a straight red. The decision proved pivotal in the outcome of the game.
The home side grew in confidence following the dismissal and tried to make use of the extra man by pressing Celtic higher up the pitch. The champions shouldered the pressure well though, and limited their opponents to few chances.
Kristoffer Ajer passed up a chance to put his side ahead when in possession inside the Livi box but the ball appeared to get caught under his foot and the defender scuffed his shot.
The Norwegian turned provider moments later when one of his typical surging runs forward saw him slip a through ball into the path of McGregor but the Livi keeper Matija Sarkic rushed off his line to snatch the ball.
There was a frantic tempo to the play towards the end of the first-half as both sides worked to create an opening but there were few clear cut chances.
Livingston took their chance early in the second half however to take the lead. Robbie Crawford was given ample time to wait for Robinson’s run in-behind the Celtic defence and his through ball set his team-mate up to smash beyond Fraser Forster’s near-post.
Neil Lennon made some tactical changes following the goal, bringing Vakoun Bayo on for Forrest. Edouard had little in the way of supply but the 21-year-old came close to equalising from a free-kick that was heading into the top corner before the keeper saved.
Livingston found themselves under incredible pressure after going ahead as Celtic bombarded their goal with a relentless attacking play.
Elyounoussi forced a save from the keeper when he cut inside from the byline and drilled a low shot across goal. Bayo was close to knocking in the loose ball but the defence stabbed the ball away.
The Ivorian worked hard to make up for Celtic being a man down. He dropped deep and got involved in the build-up play for Celtic’s attack but a stubborn Livingston defence limited the number of chances on goal.
Despite Celtic’s attacking play they conceded a second goal when a long clearance from Sarkic was left to bounce into the box and Dykes lifted the ball over the onrushing Forster.
Neil Lennon’s side continued to pressure their opponents right up until the final whistle.
Edouard had a powerful shot blocked and Elyounoussi’s cut back from the by-line was intercepted and cleared. Time ran out before Celtic could find the breakthrough they had been searching for and the Hoops were unable to score in a game for the first-time this season.
CELTIC: Forester, Bauer, Jullien, Ajer, Bolingoli (Hayes 73); Brown (Ntcham 75), McGregor, Forrest (Bayo 55), Elyounoussi, Edouard
Subs: Gordon, Elhamed, Bitton, Sinclair
LIVINGSTON: Sarkic; Devlin, Guthrie, Lamie, McMillan, Bartley, Jacobs, Crawford, Lawless (Odoffin 82), Robinson (Lawson 76), Dykes (Miller 88)
Subs – Stewart, Pepe, Sibbald, Souda
Europa League Group Stages
Thursday, October 3, 2019
Celtic Park, Glasgow
(Edouard 20, Elyounoussi 59)
CELTIC extracted revenge on CFR Cluj with a thrilling 2-0 win in the UEFA Europa League. Neil Lennon’s side made it another memorable European night at Paradise as they dominated their opponents to move top of Group E.
Odsonne Edouard put the Hoops in front in the first half and Mohamed Elyounoussi scored his first Celtic goal to make it 2-0 early in the second period.
Celtic started with a good tempo and it wasn’t long before the Cluj defence began to show cracks under the pressure of Celtic’s attacking play.
Christopher Jullien almost opened the scoring after 10 minutes when he got on the end of Callum McGregor’s cross, but his header was saved by goalkeeper Giedrius Arlauskis.
The French defender continued to trouble the opposition defence with his aerial ability and came close with a second attempt moments later from a Boli Bolingoli cross.
After a few chances created out on the left flank, Ryan Christie and James Forrest worked a wonderful opportunity on the opposite wing. Christie fed in Forrest who drilled a low pass into the six-yard box which was inches out of reach for Edouard.
With the quality of delivery into the box it was only a matter of time before Celtic found the back of the net and the breakthrough came after 20 minutes.
McGregor started the move with an excellent defence-splitting pass through to Bolingoli. The Belgian showed great pace to keep the ball in and chipped a cross into the box which Edouard headed into the net.
A flurry of chances then followed after the goal. Bolingoli drew a gasp from the home support when his shot with the outside of his left foot flashed just over the crossbar.
Scott Brown wasn’t far off with attempt from distance while Edouard’s effort from the edge of the area was blocked by Andrei Burca.
Cluj rarely threatened going forward but the Romanian side had a chance near the end of the first half when they broke forward on the counter-attack.
Mario Rondon dribbled his way into the box and cut inside before trying to con the referee into a penalty and was booked for diving.
A Celtic counter-attack early in the second period almost ended in a second goal for the home side.
Forrest picked the ball up just inside the Cluj half, drove into the box and tried to pick out Elyounoussi with a low cross towards the back post, but it was too far in front of the Norwegian winger.
The pair linked up again shortly afterwards to give Celtic the second goal they thoroughly deserved. Elyounoussi collected the ball just inside Celtic’s half and quickly fed in Forrest who darted down the wing and into the penalty area.
He had Edouard and McGregor inside a crowded box so instead cut a pass back for Elyounoussi. The Hoops winger took a touch and fired off a shot which found its way into the bottom corner of the net.
Cluj responded with a brief period of pressure and Fraser Forster made an excellent save to prevent Ciprian Deac’s powerful shot across goal find the back of the net. Going two goals behind forced the visitors to come out more but the Celtic defence worked diligently to ensure they did not have any clear cut chances in front of goal.
Cluj’s attempts to create an avenue back into the game was to Celtic’s advantage. Neil Lennon’s side hit Cluj on the break and were unfortunate not to increase their lead. Edouard linked up well with the rest of the Hoops attack and nearly set Forrest up with a through ball into the box, but the keeper rushed off his line to collect.
Elyounoussi whipped a low cross into the box which Christie met but the midfielder couldn’t direct the ball on target. Christie had another glimpse at goal from around 20 yards but he dragged his shot wide.
Celtic continued to assert their dominance on the tie late in the game and thoroughly deserved the victory with an impressive Europa League performance.
CELTIC: Forster; Elhamed, Jullien, Ajer, Bolingoli; Brown, McGregor, Elyounoussi, Forrest (Hayes 84), Christie (Ntcham 88); Edouard
Subs: Gordon, Bauer, Bitton, Sinclair, Rogic
Arlauskis; Burcă, Aurélio (Culio 56), Djoković (Hoban 81), Omrani, Deac, Sušić, Boli, Bordeianu, Camora, Rondón (Paun 70)
Subs: Fernandez, Golofca, Peteleu, Mike