If you remember back to the start of the season and the time when Boli Bolingoli decided to take an away day in Spain without informing anyone at Parkhead - and without self isolating on his return? Yeah - Me too!!!
It was a dark moment and one that could have led to more serious consequences for the game continuing on this season. We were punished with our next two games being postponed.
Do you also remember the Main stream media frenzy of how newco Rangers would be 11 points ahead before we next kicked a ball and how any gap would be a mountain for us to climb in the hope of retaining the title? Yeah, me too!!!
We are yet to really get into our stride this year, yet we were going into this home game against Livingston with the opportunity of being top of the league for the first time this year. Would we do it?
There is always an excitement amongst the fans for the favoured 3-5-2 formation but ahead of the game it looks as though, with the back injury to Jullien, that a 4-2-3-1 is how the manager has decided to start the game. Edouard, who has played a lot of football lately after coming back from a knock, makes way for Ajeti as the lone striker. The bench, it has to be said - is VERY strong indeed, and could make a difference if required during the game. It is interesting to see Tom Rogic back in the mix - if the Aussie can get to peak fitness he is an incredible player to bring on.
Shane Duffy takes his place in the middle of the Celtic defence, having scored in both his first two games. Hopefully he can repeat the feat in his third outing.
BarkasSubs : Bain, Bitton, Klimala, Soro, Turnbull, Rogic, Edouard, Elyounoussi, Forrest
Elhamed Duffy Ajer Taylor
Frimpong Ntcham Christie
The first shot of the game came from Olivier Ntcham as he turned in the box, but his effort was blocked and he was adjudged guilty of fouling when trying to get the ball back into the fray.
Callum McGregor managed a great block from ex Sevco player Holt, after Livingston broke on the right with the ball falling to Holt around 20 yards out.
With twelve minutes on the clock, the Bhoys had a chance from a free kick after a foul on Ajeti. Christie hit the ball which swerved over the wall but grazed the top of the net instead of nesting on the underside of the bar.
Celtic appealed hard for a penalty at one end after a shot from Christie, only to be followed by an award at the other end as Ajer was adjudged to have handled from a sliding block. Gary Holt stepped up to take the penalty and drilled it hard into the right hand side of Barkas's goal to give the visitors a lead. Thankfully, just like in midweek when we went behind, there was plenty of time to turn this one around.
It didn't take long for parity to be achieved. Ajer strode forward and passed to Ajeti. The little Swiss strike was strong in control, turned and laid off to McGregor who unleashed a delightful, thunderous stroke across the goalkeeper and high into the opposition goal.
Within a couple of minutes Celtic could have taken the lead through nice play by Frimpong, but the effort was cleared - but not for long. McGregor played a lovely reverse into the path of a great run by Taylor, whose pass found the feet of Ryan Christie to stroke the ball into the corner of the net for a deserved lead.
With around five minutes until half time Christie almost gave himself an opportunity with a neat touch from a good McGregor drive and pass. Christie cushioned the ball but it was a little too heavy to allow him a second touch before the keeper came out to extinguish the threat. The first half came to a conclusion with a speculative pass towards Frimpong down the right from Elhamed, however it was overhit and easily taken by the keeper.
HALF TIME : Celtic 2 Livingston 1
Sibbald recievied the first yellow card of the game after a high and late challenge on Cgristie which caught the Celtic player on the knee.
The third goal came a couple of minutes later with some beautiful play. Ntcham took the ball in midfield and played it into the feet of Christie who played a first time ball into the channel for Ajeti to run on to and strike wonderfully into the top left hand corner of the Livi net. Perfectly made and beautifully taken. The Swiss player looks a real find and is a beeauutiful human being. What I like about Ajeti along with his natural ability to score - is his hold up play. He is able to back into players, under pressure, and force them off the ball which is a very good trait to bring others into play.
An hour in and Duffy came close from a corner with a header at the back post that went narrowly wide.
Frimpong made a good chance with some nifty footwork inside the box, but after twisting and turning to make the space, McCrorie was able to block his shot.
Serrano, after several double fouls and a booking was lucky not to be sent off after a tug on El Hamed's shirt before Frimpong created another attempt from the centre of the goal some 22 yards out but it was high and over.
Both Forrest's entered the park (Alan and James) on 73 minutes along with Nir Bitton - with Frimpong and El Hamed making way. The Celtic winger almost made an immediate impact as he tried to steer in a Callum McGregor pass with the outside of his right boot, but it was high and wide.
Serrano proved he wasn't ham, when he struck a thunderbolt from 25 yards after a one two in midfield from a half cleared ball which soared pass Barkas to give Livingston a little chance in the game, and what could be an uncomfortable last ten minutes of the game. A nervousness showed fairly qyuickly after. Duffy made a sloppy pass out of defence to Brown who came under quick pressure and a rare mistake in the game. Thankfully Livi were unable to make anything of the chance and Forrest cleared.
Turnbull and Elyounoussi came on for Christie and Ntcham for the final 6 minutes of the competition and almost immediately Celtic got a corner. Duffy rose and his looping header narrowly went past the left post.
With only a few seconds remaining of the 4 additional minutes, Carlo Pignatiello of Livingston had a glorious chance to equalise with a heading opportunity from a few yards out - but the late substitute let his effort go well wide of the upright, much to the relief of the Celtic defence and management.
The game ended with Celtic as victors in a tighter game than it should have been.
Celtic 3 Livingston 2
There comes times in any season where results are key more than performance. With seven games played - the same as our closest rivals - Celtic are top of the league - regardless of press speculation early in the season, regardless of the wishful mountain to climb claims of our detractors - with the same number of games played we sit atop of the competition. Isn't that summit??