Celtic: Liel Abada plays Postecoglou ahead of Groundhog Day

Celtic: Liel Abada plays Postecoglou ahead of Groundhog Day

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It would be wrong to say that Liel Abada is unsung at Celtic Park, but when the praises lash out it’s usually his fellow attackers Kyogo Furuhashi and Jota who are serenaded.

Abada is 21 and how much his team needed his input against Livingston on Wednesday. A night that seemed like a breeze turned into a minor struggle, a game in which Celtic rushed to a 2-0 lead with the promise of more turned into a frustrating affair.

Celtic rarely seemed in danger of dropping points, but equally they never came close to their best level.

Credit Livingston for that. Their organization, their commitment, their faith kept them on the hunt. They simply refused to be hit. David Martindale is one hot cookie. His teams don’t tend to swoon in bigger stadiums and against more glamorous opponents.

That wasn’t a repeat of Aberdeen on Saturday. Livingston had a lot more about them as a team. They scored, asked a few questions, denied Celtic a consolation in their game. It was all pretty unruly, a bit ugly.

The creative force behind both Celtic goals was Abada, with a cross turned into his own net by Ayo Obileye and another swept in by Kyogo. Those were the crucial moments. That’s five assists this season along with seven goals in the league, adding to 15 goals and 11 assists last season.

That’s quite a haul for a young player at a demanding club in a foreign country.

He had a goal ruled out by VAR, which was both fair and unfair. He was ruled offside but his contribution was worth a goal. He later had a shot across the face of the Livingston net. He was Celtic’s most important player on the night that restored their nine-point lead at the top.

On a couple of occasions this season and last it was Abada who unlocked goals for Celtic, scoring a goal in the 90th minute against Dundee United that made it 3-2 which quickly became 4-2 and the first two at Motherwell scored the deadlock breaker in a 4-0 win over Rangers.

‘Postecoglou lives a Groundhog Day existence’

This is the strength of Ange Postecoglou’s team. On difficult days, there is almost always someone there to do the work.

At 2-0, it didn’t look like one of those tricky games, but it was. Celtic, of course, had plenty of possession and shots on target.

They also had a brave opponent who grew in confidence. We think Celtic is a smoothly functioning team, but they really do more to win through character than to wipe out their opponents through quality.

You wonder what Postecoglou makes of all this. Most weeks his team is asked to smash cautious teams. It comes with the area of ​​having most of the best players in the country and enormous wealth compared to almost everyone else. But he has to feel like he’s living a Groundhog Day existence at times.

Over the weekend they had 33 shots on goal for Aberdeen and 81% possession. You won it late in the day. In their previous game, they had 22 shots on Ross County goal and 75%, again winning by a single goal. They had a lot of possession and shots again last night and there was only one in the end.

The winter months can have a crunchy feel to them. Don’t worry about the class, just count the points. Celtic are on a long winning streak and look like a side who have almost forgotten how to lose league games.

Only St Mirren managed to break the code, with 20% and four shots to Celtic’s 19. That had a crazy nature.

Something like this doesn’t happen often. Celtic, who even play among themselves, does the job. The rangers continue to pray for signs of weakness and lost points, but there are no signs.

It wasn’t pretty, and the memory of it will have faded by the time someone pulls into the parking lot, but that doesn’t matter.

Three points, three points, three points. That’s the happy rhythm of Postecoglou’s team as they bet on back-to-back games.


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