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Boss says ‘we’re on the right road’ as Celtic seek to improve their away form

Celtic v Ross County – cinch Premiership – Celtic Park
(Image credit: jeffholmes, Jeff Holmes)

Celtic face a tough task at Livingston as they attempt to improve their away form but manager Ange Postecoglou will demand the same attacking approach.

Postecoglou has tasted defeat in five of his six away games so far, the latest a 4-3 reverse against Real Betis in Celtic’s opening Europa League game  on Thursday.

Both sides had 16 attempts at goal in Seville as Celtic let slip a two-goal lead but Postecoglou is relying on his new-look defence improving with familiarity, and his attacking line-up getting better as the weeks go on.

The Hoops were without attackers Liel Abada, James Forrest, Mikey Johnston and Kyogo Furuhashi in Spain while new striker Giorgos Giakoumakis is still to make his debut.

So Postecoglou was encouraged by the way his side took the game to their opponents.

“It was the manner in which we played that gives me encouragement that we’re on the right road,” he said, quoted on the official UEFA website.

“We are trying to build a resilient group and we’ve had opportunities to make excuses about our circumstances but the players were intent on playing our football against a good team, irrespective of playing away from home and the absences we’ve got in terms of personnel.

“You can come here and get a 0- 0 draw (but) that ain’t gonna please me.

“I would rather we played the football we played. We will get better at it and, when we do, I think we’ll get the rewards as well.”

Although Celtic drew a blank in a 1-0 defeat against Rangers in their previous cinch Premiership away game, creating chances and scoring goals have not generally been a problem.

That tight encounter at Ibrox was the exception in Celtic’s season with other away games swinging from end to end, while the Hoops have already scored 24 goals at Parkhead.

Matches at Livingston have proved difficult for previous Celtic bosses with the hosts unbeaten in four matches against the Hoops in West Lothian, and David Martindale will be keen to test his opponents’ new-look defence.

With Greg Taylor out with a shoulder injury, Croatia right-back Josip Juranovic has had to fill in on the left of the back four, and recent signings Carl Starfelt and Cameron Carter-Vickers had some uncomfortable moments in central defence in Spain.

“It’s hard when you come away from home and the opposition get a bit of momentum,” said Postecoglou, whose side conceded four goals in 21 minutes either side of half-time.

“You can feel the home players lifting and that’s when you need a little bit of calmness but we are talking about guys who are just beginning their Celtic careers.

“Defensive solidity comes after a period of time and we don’t have that right now.”