Celtic made to wait for title after Livingston draw

Oliver Burke could have snatched a win in stoppage time but missed from close range

Celtic players thank the home fans after their draw with Livingston at Celtic Park. Photograph: pA

Celtic players thank the home fans after their draw with Livingston at Celtic Park. Photograph: pA

 

Celtic 0 Livingston 0

Celtic will have to wait at least two weeks to clinch the Ladbrokes Premiership title after being held to a goalless draw by Livingston.

The leaders were denied by a string of first-half saves from Livingston goalkeeper Liam Kelly and the home fans endured a frustrating second half as Gary Holt’s side sat in and restricted Celtic’s chances.

Oliver Burke could have snatched a win in stoppage time but the Celtic substitute missed from close range.

A Celtic win and a Motherwell victory over Rangers on Sunday would have sealed an eighth consecutive title for Neil Lennon’s men, but they will now have to wait until after the split for their inevitable coronation as champions.

Celtic are now 14 points clear and the only way the title will be in the bag before Lennon returns to Easter Road to face Hibernian on April 21st is if Rangers take just a point from trips to Fir Park and Tynecastle beforehand.

Two wins for Rangers would mean Celtic would need to wait at least until they host Kilmarnock on April 27th before they can wrap up matters.

Lennon made five changes from the midweek win over St Mirren with Kieran Tierney returning and Tom Rogic making his first start of the year following a knee injury.

Livingston created the first chance as Craig Halkett was left in space to head towards goal but Scott Brown headed the ball behind for another corner.

Celtic were soon on the attack and Ryan Christie forced Kelly’s first save as the Scotland squad goalkeeper parried a shot after a good move down the left.

The champions were moving the ball about with pace and purpose and both Brown and Christie were off-target from the edge of the box before Kelly continued his good work.

The keeper held Odsonne Edouard’s measured shot after the Frenchman was picked out by James Forrest. The latter tried himself moments later but Kelly brilliantly saved his shot with the outside of the boot.

Forrest went on another good run before Tierney drove the ball across for Rogic to shoot first time but again Kelly stopped it.

Scott Bain was also on form, tipping over Dolly Menga’s 25-yard strike on the turn before Kelly made further saves from Callum McGregor, Edouard and a particularly impressive one from Rogic before the break.

Kelly made a routine save from McGregor after the interval but Celtic were finding it more difficult to break Livingston down and did not seriously threaten again until the 72nd minute, when a cross from Jonny Hayes fell kindly for fellow substitute Timothy Weah.

The American made a mess of his finish and Kelly reacted quickly to block as Edouard tried to force home the loose ball from close range.

Kelly saved Christie’s header and came off his line to stop Weah’s low cross reaching Edouard before getting a well-deserved slice of luck in stoppage-time. Burke missed the target from four yards after the goalkeeper could not hold Edouard’s strike.

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