Ange Postecoglou has backed his squad to put their previous struggles against Livingston to one side and find a solution to beat David Martindale’s men when they meet in the Scottish Premiership on Sunday.
Speaking on Friday, after being named Manager of the Month, the Celtic boss also revealed that Greek striker Giorgos Giakoumakis, who scored a hat-trick against Dundee in his last league game, has returned to the squad after missing the last two games against Hibernian and St Mirren.
The last time the Hoops won a league game at Almondvale was away back in 2006 when Gordon Strachan was the manager in the season Livi were relegated.
The teams have met in West Lothian five times since they were promoted back to the top-flight with Livingston winning two and the other three being draws.
Livi have also claimed three draws at Celtic Park in that time.
Under Postecoglou Celtic have yet to score against Martindale’s side and have only one point to show from their two games, a 1-0 win for Livi at Almondvale and 0-0 draw in Glasgow, this season.
Martindale’s side are the form team in the Premiership in 2022 outside of Sunday’s visitors and go into the game unbeaten in five – they had not won in the league before beating the Hoops the last time.
On the previous meetings the Celtic manager said: “I thought we really struggled in the first game at Livingston and things weren’t going our way and we got really bogged down and didn’t find the solutions we needed to on the day.
“The second game in our ground was a bit different, it was one where we just needed an early goal, but I thought we got a little bit frustrated.
“We have still had challenges since then, every game hasn’t been perfect, but what we have done is within the context of that game, we have found solutions within our football to get the job done.
“That’s what I keep reinforcing to the players. I get that people think we should be going in with a clear plan every week to beat the opposition but in football and in real life, as they say, plans get thrown out the window when you get your first punch in the face.
“What we have done is taken the blows and kept going and that’s what we have got to prepare for. It’s going to be a tough game, they are a good side, they are in good form and will be coming confident.
“So we have to make sure that we play our football but also know that whatever challenge we face out there, there are solutions within that.”
Postecoglou believes both teams have improved since their last meeting and will look at Livingston’s recent matches rather than back at Celtic’s games against the Lions.
He said: “Because we have changed a fair bit as a team since then, the focus will be on just making sure the things we have been doing well for quite a while now that we continue to do well,” he said.
“The solutions we need to find are within our game rather than looking at the opposition.
“They have got stronger as the season has gone one. They seem to have a good spirit, they work hard together, they are well drilled and structured, so it makes them hard to beat.
“We haven’t played them for a while and I think we have grown as a team as well in terms of showing the resilience we need to show to win games of football.
“So while it will be a good challenge, I think it’s one we are up for.”
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