Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou found himself facing a new challenge of making possession count at home after seemingly sorting his side’s away form.
After following an eight-month wait for an away win in Scotland with three consecutive victories on the road, Celtic toiled to a goalless home draw with Livingston.
Celtic looked irresistible in front of their own fans earlier this season, hitting 21 goals in five domestic wins. But they have followed that by dropping four points in three matches.
With Tom Rogic injured and Kyogo Furuhashi starting on the bench, Celtic were not the same team as the one which blew away opponents earlier in the campaign at Parkhead.
Although they had 85 per cent of possession, they only managed one shot on target in the 90 minutes, when Jack Fitzwater headed Anthony Ralston’s shot off the line.
Giorgos Giakoumakis saw a poor penalty saved in stoppage time before he and the returning James Forrest missed chances in quick succession.
But other than that, Celtic struggled to carve out clear openings against a Livi team which packed the central areas of their half and denied the hosts space.
After missing the chance to go top on Saturday night, Postecoglou said: “I’m sure the fans were just as frustrated as we were. Especially here at home, we want to be a team that is picking up maximum points.
“That’s two games now where we have created chances to win games and didn’t. I guess the supporters will be frustrated just like we are but at the same time it’s all part of the challenges we have got moving forward. We can’t dwell too long on it.
“We knew the challenge was Livingston sitting deep and we would have to find a way through. Getting a goal would have made a big difference in the context of the game but we had chances and couldn’t take them.”
Winger Jota vowed to learn from the experience.
“We played against a team who defended with 11 men behind the ball and when this happens it is obviously harder to score,” he said.
“We just had to find the spaces but they kept on getting closer and closer and closer and it was difficult for us.
“But we hope to learn as much as we can about this game. A lot of teams try to do this, we have to respect it and find ways to score.
“I would rather be in this team than the other team that has 15 per cent of possession. We just have to stick to our principles, keep possession, find the spaces and be aggressive. It was not our day but there are plenty more to come.”
Livingston manager David Martindale felt his plan had worked to perfection, other than Ayo Obileye hitting out at Furuhashi in the box.
“I was coming away from the dugout and somebody shouted ‘that must be enjoyable to watch every week’,” Martindale said.
“You’ve got a £55million budget against a £1.3million budget. You have got to come up with different ways to win games of football.
“Coming away to the big clubs, you have got to change your game plan. I don’t think you can be as open and expansive as you normally are. I don’t want to say too much about how we went about our business but it worked to a tee.
“I speak about it in the club quite a lot, it’s not about the me, it’s about the we. The boys worked on it, they understood the shape.”
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