celtic were under pressure today, because a win against west lothian club, livingston would sent them three points ahead in their first match of the new year.
apart from the pre match huddle roars, the celtic atmosphere was disappointing, and my last game against aberdeen in october, which i though was a bad atmosphere, was good compared to this game. the livi lions aren't the biggest support and only brought around 400 fans, if that, but they managed to make a noise similar to the hoops fans , and the livi supporters would have been disappointed, and would have expected more from the celtic supporters.
to the match and the celtic players knew a win would send the three points ahead after their bitter rivals and had the same line up that beat hearts, 2-0 last week. rangers had only managed a last minute draw, and knew the livi lions wouldn't be pushovers under their latest manager, richard gough.
young prospect, aiden mcgeady, from a corner, crossed into the box for sutton to touch for slovakian defender, stanislav varga to narrowly head over the bar.
not much else happened up until the 15 minute mark after livi defender, oscar rubio pulled down john hartson. geordie, alan thompson's crossed free-kick was met by, spl top scorer, john hartson to make the score 1-0 to celtic.
celtic missed a few half chances, and were giving the ball away for livingston to miss a few chances and to be parried away by celtic goalkeeper, robert douglas
celtic were stunned shortly before the half time interval, when ex-dundee united striker, jim hamilton netted from close range after a burton o'brien corner.
after the interval, and celtic were pushing the livi lions defence for a goal mainly through set pieces.
celtic had a few penalty claims involving sutton which weren't given by referee, thomson.
from a sutton cross, hartson had time to chest the ball down and shoot, which somehow colin meldrum, the livi lions keeper, managed to tip over the bar.
the vital moment came on 55 minutes when mcgeady's corner appeared to be met by hamilton and the celtic fans cheered as the referee pointed to the spot. jim hamilton was raging and did his best to confront thomson before, meldrum had to pull him away.
chris sutton's confidently struck penalty hit the back of the net and sent meldrum the wrong way.
celtic struggled to find the killer, third goal and in stoppage time, livi lions defender, bahoken nearly scored one of livingston's four shots to be parried over the bar from six yards by douglas.
saturday 2nd january 2005
celtic....... 2-1.. livingston
hartson, 15......hamilton, 38
my man of the match: jackie mcnamara