50-game Postecoglou keeping company with Stein, O’Neill and Lennon
The forceful display that earned Celtic’s first win at Livingston in six attempts forced Ange Postecoglou over a significant threshold as he brought up the half century for games in his role. The Australian now boasts a 70% success rate, underpinned by a 29-game domestic unbeaten run that has produced 25 wins. Only three permanent Celtic managers in the club’s 144-year history have topped that mark: Martin O’Neill, who leads the way with a 75.53% rate across his five years from the summer of 2000, the incomparable Jock Stein, on 70.14 for his 13 glorious years that began in 1965, and Neil Lennon. Yes, Neil Lennon. The shamefully undervalued Irishman, even with the form nosedive last year, retained a 70% win rate for his second, two year, spell. His first stint on him, from 2010-2014, led to him posting 70.04% for this measure.
One of football’s strangest sights
It doesn’t matter how often you see three out of four stands at Almondvale filled by away fans, it never ceases to appear incongruous. That is not slight on Livingston. They are on the money – literally – to cash in to the max on the traveling supports of Celtic, Rangers, Hearts and Hibs when this doesn’t squeeze-out their small band of supporters. Yet, there cannot be many other top flights in Europe where away games are given such a home feel. And, to Livingston’s credit, it doesn’t appear to have made life any easier for those pitching up to play on their plastic. In their four seasons back in the top flight they have claimed home wins over all four of Celtic, Rangers, Hearts and Hibs. Returns that no teams given over one or two stands to the quartet can rival.
The nine luminaries of the Scottish game Forrest has joined
The irrepressible James Forrest has admirable staying power. There has appeared a rush to consider his 19-honour snaring, 13-season stellar Celtic career to be winding down through the 30-year-old struggling for concerted game time under Postecoglou. In part, because of niggly injuries. Yet with a vibrant performance and sublime finish in West Lothian, Forrest demonstrated he shouldn’t be so easily written off. Especially when that first league goal of his season has written him into another notable list. He has now become the 10th player to net in at least 13th consecutive top flight campaigns since the Premier age began in 1975-76. The full group, with their number of straight upper tier scoring league campaigns in brackets are: Ally McCoist (18), Davie Cooper (18), Paul McStay (16), John Robertson (15), Paul Sturrock (14), Eamonn Bannon (14), Joe Miller (14), Billy Stark (14), Billy Dodds (13).
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.