CELTIC will be leading the league by the time they meet Rangers at Ibrox on January 2, irrespective of what happens in their next two Premiership outings.

The champions meet St Johnstone at Parkhead on Christmas Eve and travel to the capital for their last match of the year against Hibs at Easter Road on Wednesday and can afford to lose them both and remain in pole position.

The Hoops restored their nine-point advantage over Michael Beale’s outfit with a 2-1 win against Livingston in the rain-lashed east end of Glasgow last night, 24 hours after two stoppage-time strikes from Scott Arfield gave Gers a dramatic 3-2 comeback victory over Aberdeen at Pittodrie.

Ange Postecoglou saw Kyogo Furuhashi score a typical near-post goal for the second against the West Lothian club who had trailed after defender Ayo Obileye diverted a cross from Liel Abada into his own net.

Remarkably, Nicky Devlin pulled one back on the stroke of half-time in the visitors’ first shot at goal as the Hoops back lot fell asleep to leave Joe Hart totally exposed.

It wasn’t pretty in the second period although the hosts throught they had claimed a third goal when Liel Abada tucked away an effort in the 71st minute. Referee Euan Anderson and his standside assistant didn’t see anything wrong with the Israeli’s effort, but VAR intervened and eventually the strike was ruled out.

It was another controversial moment concerning the champions and new technology, but Postecoglou point-blank refused to talk about the decision.

Speaking about Kyogo’s goal and overall performance, the Hoops gaffer said: “I don’t know if he needs a boost of confidence, he just needs to keep doing what’s he doing.

“He scored again on this occasion and got into a couple of good areas. We just need to keep getting into those positions, but we can’t rely on just one player to score a goal.

“We need more bodies in there and we didn’t have enough tonight. We didn’t really take control of the game as we could have and were just a bit anxious about things.

“I think on performance alone there will be some changes, for sure.”

Postecoglou, speaking to Celtic TV, continued: “I said a few weeks ago that I won’t be talking about VAR anymore.

“They have made the decision and we take it.”

Speaking of the nine-point lead in the race for their second successive championship, the 57-year-old Greek-Australian added: “That is irrelevant to what we want to be and the way we want to play.

“It’s just we want to play our football a certain way and we can’t go away from that.

“Ultimately, we’ve won another game of football and what we need to do is make sure that we keep doing that on the back of strong performances.”


About Author


Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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