Celtic take unusual step to prepare for Livingston away - 'we don't always do it'

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou isn’t going to brush off the peculiarities of playing on plastic as he prepares his team for Sunday’s trip to Livingston.

So much so that Postecoglou has decided to decant his squad’s Saturday morning training session to the astroturf pitch within the club’s Lennoxtown training complex. Celtic haven’t won any of their five visits to Almondvale since Livingston returned to the top flight in 2018, the loss there in September giving way to a 27-game domestic unbeaten run that has taken them to the summit of the cinch Premiership.

It might be a mere co-incidence that three of Celtic’s most indifferent displays under Postecoglou have come on synthetic surfaces courtesy of that reverse, their Scottish Cup slog at Alloa and the recent European exit away to Bodo/Glimt. That the Celtic’s manager isn’t treating his team’s latest test on astroturf like any other game is what lies behind the unusual build-up to Sunday’s crucial encounter.

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"We don't always do it. It's more about how I feel,” he said of putting on the day-before the game training session on plastic at the club’s own such surface. "We are Wednesday-Sunday this week, so we have an extra day between games. This just gives the players a little bit more of a feeling for it. Sometimes I do it, sometimes I don't. It's not essential but it is a real thing - the pitch plays differently. There is no point trying to ignore it. I can tell the players to ignore it and play their normal game, but you do have to adjust. It becomes a little bit of a different game on that surface and the players need to be prepared for that. But that doesn't mean it stops you from being successful. You just have to adjust your game and your approach, so that it removes any negative impact the pitch has on our football.”

Celtic have moved training onto the artificial pitch at Lennoxtown to prepare for Sunday's trip to Livingston. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)

Celtic left-back Greg Taylor expects a tough match regardless of the surface.

“It’s easy to just put it down to them being a bogey team. I don’t think we can do that,” he stressed.

“We know it will be difficult because they are a good side with their own ambitions.

“We have to go and put on a performance and get the result we need.”

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