Ange Postecoglou has backed his Celtic team to roll with the punches at Livingston and find a solution to their scoring struggles against David Martindale’s side.
Celtic have not scored in two games against Livi this season and their 1-0 defeat in West Lothian on September 19 left them without a win in five visits to the Tony Macaroni Arena.
Martindale’s side are the form team in the Scottish Premiership this year – outside of Celtic – and go into the game unbeaten in five. Yet they had not won in the league before beating the league leaders the last time out.
Celtic have struggled to break down Livi in their previous two games but Postecoglou will not pore over the matches as he believes his team have moved on since then.
“Every game lives in its own little world,” said the Scottish Premiership manager of the month for February.
“As much as we as coaches and sometimes as supporters love to control everything and think that there’s a blueprint we need to follow, it just doesn’t happen.
“You are dealing with human beings, who knows what we are going to face at the weekend? It could be a fast start, it might not be a fast start.
“All those things when you are dealing with human beings, on both teams, it’s very hard to sit there and plan out a 95-minute blueprint that everyone has got to follow.
“I thought we really struggled in the first game at Livingston and things weren’t going our way and we got really bogged down and didn’t find the solutions we needed on the day.
“The second game in our ground was a bit different, it was one where we just needed an early goal, but I thought we got a little bit frustrated.
“We have still had challenges since then, every game hasn’t been perfect, but what we have done is within the context of that game, we have found solutions within our football to get the job done.
“That’s what I keep reinforcing to the players. I get that people think we should be going in with a clear plan every week to beat the opposition but in football and in real life, as they say, plans get thrown out the window when you get your first punch in the face.
“What we have done is taken the blows and kept going and that’s what we have got to prepare for. It’s going to be a tough game, they are a good side, they are in good form and will be coming confident.
“So we have to make sure that we play our football but also know that whatever challenge we face out there, there are solutions within that.”
Postecoglou will look at Livingston’s recent matches rather than back at Celtic’s games against the Lions.
“Because we have changed a fair bit as a team since then, the focus will be on just making sure the things we have been doing well for quite a while now that we continue to do well,” he said.
“The solutions we need to find are within our game rather than looking at the opposition.
“We haven’t played them for a while and I think we have grown as a team as well in terms of showing the resilience we need to show to win games of football.
“So, while it will be a good challenge, I think it’s one we are up for.”