James Forrest’s first cinch Premiership goal of the season helped Celtic to their first victory at Livingston since 2007.
Forrest hit Celtic’s third goal in a 3-1 win, their first in six matches at the Tony Macaroni Arena.
Daizen Maeda put Celtic ahead in the 17th minute, soon after Callum McGregor missed a penalty, and Nicky Devlin’s own goal doubled the visitors’ lead in the opening moments of the second half.
Andrew Shinnie pulled a goal back within a minute of Forrest’s 55th-minute effort, but there was never any danger of Celtic relinquishing their lead as they restored their three-point advantage over Rangers in the table with eight games left.
Celtic had not scored in their previous two games against Livi this season and the home side had pushed up to the top six by collecting 17 points so far in 2022.
Ange Postecoglou recalled long-serving quartet Anthony Ralston, Nir Bitton, Forrest and Tom Rogic in a bid to find solutions to their difficulties in West Lothian.
His side produced a commanding performance which stretched their unbeaten domestic run to 29 games since their previous visit.
Celtic got some crosses in early on, but it was the hosts who posed the first serious threat when Ayo Obileye met a corner. Joe Hart pulled off an impressive diving stop.
The visitors soon piled on the pressure and got a 15th-minute penalty for handball from Nick Walsh when Maeda’s shot hit the grounded Jack Fitzwater from close range.
With main penalty taker Josip Juranovic on the bench, McGregor stepped up but struck his effort against a post.
It was his second penalty miss of the season and Celtic’s second against Livi this term, Giorgos Giakoumakis the culprit last time out.
McGregor had an equally good chance within seconds but headed over from eight yards following Jota’s cross.
The goal came after a hotly-disputed corner award after Ralston slipped while trying to cross the ball under pressure from Jason Holt.
Jota delivered and Carl Starfelt glanced a header at the near post. Max Stryjek pulled off a good diving stop, but Maeda was on hand to nod the ball over the line.
Rogic and Jota threatened from long range as Celtic remained in control without maintaining the same intensity. Forrest looked like he was in as he chested down Bitton’s ball over the top but jarred his ankle. The chance was lost, but the winger recovered after treatment.
Obileye came even closer in the final minute of the half when he met a free-kick and headed against the bar. Joel Nouble was off target from the rebound.
Celtic doubled their lead seconds after the restart. Maeda missed Ralston’s cross and the ball flashed in off Devlin, with Jota in close proximity.
Stryjek came out to foil Rogic before Forrest made it 3-0 when he ran on to Jota’s through-ball and fired a left-footed striker beyond the goalkeeper.
Livi responded immediately when Devlin’s long throw was flicked on and Shinnie stabbed home at the near post.
Celtic remained in control and could have added to their lead. Forrest threatened again and Stryjek stopped Maeda’s first-time effort with his foot after a sweeping move.
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