Livingston manager David Martindale has explained how his side focused on stopping Celtic from setting the tempo in their Premiership victory on Sunday, via the Daily Record.
The Hoops suffered a third defeat in six league fixtures at the Almondvale Stadium after a 25th-minute strike from Andrew Shinnie. Ange Postecoglou’s side now trail early leaders Rangers by four points, to sit sixth in the standings with nine points.
Livingston were winless before hosting Celtic at the weekend, after taking just one point from a possible 15. They sat bottom of the table, yet stifled the Hoops throughout the first half to protect Max Stryjek’s net.
Celtic improved after the break, but still could not find a solution to overturn Livingston’s advantage. The Glasgow outfit are now without an away win domestically in seven-months, since beating St Johnstone 2-1 in February.
Martindale knew Livingston would not be able to play on the front foot to beat Celtic, so sought to stop Postecoglou’s men establishing their presence in order to dictate the pace.
“We knew it was important to set the tempo off the ball,” Martindale said. “You’re not going to have a lot of the ball against Celtic, but don’t let them set the tempo.
“The boys did that really well. They kept their shape and matched the runners, and we were able to set the tempo.”
Martindale outlines Celtic weakness Postecoglou must improve
Postecoglou will have to take note of Martindale’s comments when assessing how Celtic lost at Livingston. The Australian coach has only taken one win in seven on the road across all competitions since joining the Hoops. He has lost six, including each of the last four.
The Hoops’ only away win under the 56-year-old came against Jablonec in the third-round of the Europa League qualifying stages. The Czech side have struggled for form all season, though, with two wins in eight Fortuna Liga fixtures so far.
Postecoglou, then, needs to find a solution for Celtic to beat sides who look to stop them setting the tempo. Martindale knew it would be the only way for Livingston to win and his players stuck to the gameplan. Ultimately allowing Livi to reap the rewards and the points.