Celtic's away form throughout 2021 married with a trip to Almondvale on Sunday probably pointed towards the end result that ensued, but there wasn't any air of inevitability about this one.

The team's domestic showings have been hot and cold so far this season and they've now won three and lost three of their six games. Three home wins; three away losses, but in Europe Celtic just scored three goals against Real Betis, and in the Premiership have already stuck 12 past Dundee and St Mirren, who were above Livi in the table before kick-off, so surely Celtic would finally kick the Tony Macaroni habit?

Livingston isn't a happy hunting ground for Celtic. They've not won there since the Lions were promoted in 2018 and in five visits have lost twice and drawn three times. Ange Postecoglou sought not to make excuses for a game in which Celtic had 80 per cent of possession and made nearly 700 passes, yet didn't force Livi keeper Max Stryjek into meaningful action.

He told Radio Clyde: "If we'd started the game as we normally do and put them under pressure, we wouldn't have got ourselves in the hole we did and we didn't have a great deal of solutions to get ourselves out of it.

"Our final third play was poor today, it's probably the poorest it's been all year. We had some issues defensively but I just thought today in the front half we were terrible and that was everybody, not just the strikers or attacking players, we lacked a real conviction in going forward and being positive so that falls on me to get it right."

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True, Celtic didn't start the game as they did in that tremendous home run during August when Dundee, St Mirren and Hearts were all left dazed and confused after 10 minutes of play. Conviction was the name of the game in those matches, but with Kyogo Furuhashi injured Celtic aren't the same going forward. Albian Ajeti has contributed with three in three, but defenders aren't playing with anxiety, in the same way, Furuhashi forces upon them. Liel Abada and Jota on either side are talented boys but fight is needed along with flair, as well as decision-making when the going gets tough.

Postecoglou was also keen to differentiate between form and results, telling Radio Clyde: "It's not the form, it's the results. Our performances have been good, today is a disappointment because you come here knowing it's not gonna be easy and you have to go beyond trying to play some football. We lacked that spark at the start of the game and we fell into the trap, maybe thinking that in this kind of game, with the challenges it has, our football would find a solution and that was never going to happen, we needed to earn the right.

That potentially points to the urgency of a 'plan B' which may be worked on in training because Livingston have shown that for provincial clubs in the league, there's no reason to run scared of this Celtic team on their home turf, especially if a few key players are injured. Sunday's XI needed more than just some WD40 to operate as smoothly as the ones that thrilled fans in August.

Speaking to the club's TV channel, Postecoglou said: "Today, the way we approached the game, our mentality to it wasn't right, maybe we bought into the fact that we know it's a challenge to play here because of the surface or any other reason. We just started the game way too tentatively for us, we like to be aggressive from the start and we have been in all games so far, today we tried to ease ourselves into the game and we cant do that."

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Do Celtic have a complex about facing Livingston away? Strange, if so, because the XI features many players that haven't succumbed as part of the team over the last three seasons. Did Juranovic, McCarthy, Jota, Abada and the other new lads hear ghost stories about Nicky Devlin and Jason Holt leading to a sleepless Saturday night? It shouldn't be an overly intimidating place for Celtic to go, especially when the away fans heavily outnumber the home ones. This isn't Hearts away for Celtic, but they're continually making hard work of it to the extent that you wonder if everyone is just overthinking the "hoodoo".

Quizzed by BBC's Kenny McIntyre on if the problem was his side's attitude, the playing surface or the opposition's set-up, Postecoglou offered: "It's a combination of all those things. You have to approach every game in the same manner of trying to impose your own will on the game. We started too tentatively and maybe bought into all the stuff that's been said about this game and the challenges of it cos of the surface or whatever reason. For me, there was nothing out there that stopped us from playing the football we needed to."

Straight from the horse's mouth. Do not blame the pitch. It's hardly ideal, but it is not a leveller to the extent it makes Livi favourites for a game or stops professional footballers, earning five figures per week, from being able to make the right decisions in the final third. Celtic have routinely done well against Hamilton Accies and Kilmarnock on similar surfaces, although Livi keep their's dryer before the game. Postecoglou is in no doubt it shouldn't stop his team from performing to their ability.