Ange Postecoglou is gambling.
Today he’s fielded a Celtic team which for all it is a strong side doesn’t look as if it’s built to score early, which as we all know is a necessary thing if this game isn’t to turn into a grind. He has left Giakoumakis on the bench.
He has gone with Bitton and McGregor in midfield along with Rogic. He has Forrest wide right.
The bench is strong, but by the time it comes into play you could be staring down the clock at 20 minutes left and a 0-0 score-line. I thought we’d see the full firepower brought to bear for kick-off.
For sure, I expected Giakoumakis to start … I am a little puzzled about what the plan is. If he wants players who have featured on this surface before then yes, I understand it, but these guys don’t exactly have a great record themselves.
Look, a lot will depend on how we start.
If we throw everything at Livingston in the early stages we might get that swift breakthrough and then this will seem like tactical genius. Indeed, it may well be tactical genius but of the sort we just can’t see yet.
There is merit in playing Bitton and Rogic. Of course there is. Hatate and O’Riley haven’t been up to their best in recent weeks. I am less convinced about Forrest, because he just looks as if he doesn’t fit into this playing style.
The real fear is going with Maeda up front instead of our big Greek. That may pay some dividends but I reckon it has cost us the physical edge I thought would be crucial today.
So a tough one. And it will be up to the manager to explain his thinking if it does not work.
A lot of oddities in that side, including Ralston at right back instead of Juranovic. It does look as if he wants guys with experience on this dire surface … but it’s a risk and no mistake.
See you on the other side of it, hopefully with three points.
Starting XI – Hart, Ralston, Carter-Vickers, Starfelt, Taylor, Bitton, McGregor, Rogic, Forrest, Jota, Maeda.
Substitutes – Bain, Giakoumakis, Abada, McCarthy, Ideguchi, O’Riley, Hatate, Welsh, Juranovic.