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Rogic rescues point in stoppage time as Celtic stretch their lead at league summit

Celtic moved 13 points clear of Rangers after a 2-2 draw at Livingstone.

Rogic nets a late leveller.
Rogic nets a late leveller.
Image: Ian Rutherford

TOM ROGIC’S DRAMATIC stoppage-time strike from the bench earned Neil Lennon’s Celtic a point from a 2-2 draw at Livingston and stretched their lead over Rangers at the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership after Steven Gerrard’s men were stunned at home by Hamilton (full report here).

Hoops midfielder Callum McGregor thundered in the opener from the edge of the box in the 16th minute before Livi captain Jon Guthrie levelled eight minutes later after a Fraser Forster fumble.

Midfielder Scott Robinson, who had scored in the Lions’ 2-0 win over the Hoops in October, notched less than a minute after the break. However, at the death, substitute Rogic slammed in an equaliser to take Celtic 13 points clear of Rangers, who lost 1-0 at home to Hamilton.

Rangers have a game in hand but Celtic showed just how determined they are to make it nine titles in a row this season, with manager Lennon describing it as “a privilege for me to manage this team” post-match.

livingston-v-celtic-ladbrokes-scottish-premiership-tony-macaroni-arena Lennon barks the orders. Source: Ian Rutherford

All eyes were on West Lothian as Livi attempted to repeat their previous shock win over the champions, who had recorded their 34th consecutive domestic cup-tie victory on Sunday with a 1-0 William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-final win at St Johnstone.

Attacker Elyounoussi returned to the Hoops side to partner striker Odsonne Edouard at the expense of Leigh Griffiths, while Robinson replaced Jack McMillan and former Celtic defender Efe Ambrose made his home debut.

The visitors took the lead moments after Hoops keeper Forster had tipped a long-distance effort from Robinson past a post.

The Parkhead side survived the corner and when they raced up the other end, Livi defender Steve Lawson failed to connect with his clearance from Greg Taylor’s cut-back and the ball landed at the feet of McGregor, who quickly switched the ball on to his right before driving high past Livi goalkeeper Robby McCrorie, on loan from Rangers.

livingston-v-celtic-ladbrokes-scottish-premiership-tony-macaroni-arena Celtic's Callum McGregor (left) and Livingston's Scott Pittman battle for the ball. Source: Ian Rutherford

Forster was at fault for Livingston’s unexpected leveller.

The Southampton loanee failed to gather left-back Ciaron Brown’s long throw-in under pressure from Guthrie and the Livi defender simply hooked the ball over his head and into the net.

There were some Celtic looks towards referee Willie Collum to blow for an infringement but the goal stood.

The champions then had two good chances to restore their lead.

In the 35th minute Celtic defender Christopher Jullien headed a Ryan Christie free-kick over the bar. Edouard then crashed a shot off a post after being set up by McGregor, who had robbed Lawson on the touchline, before McCrorie punched away a shot from Taylor with the last action of the first half.

Celtic and their fans were stunned within a minute of the second half when striker Lyndon Dykes outmuscled Jullien on the right-hand side and rolled the ball back for Robinson to drive into the net from 14 yards.

livingston-v-celtic-ladbrokes-scottish-premiership-tony-macaroni-arena Livingston's Scott Robinson (17) scores his side's second goal of the game. Source: Ian Rutherford

Forster saved Aaron Taylor-Sinclair’s drive from wide with his feet moments later as Celtic wobbled before storming back.

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Dykes missed the target with a curling shot after Steve Lawless played him in after picking up a loose Jullien clearance.

But Celtic kept piling forward and only a timely tackle by Guthrie thwarted Edouard as he set himself to shoot just 12 yards from goal.

It was backs-to-the-wall defending by the home side, but in dramatic fashion Rogic converted an Edouard cut-back in stoppage time as Celtic were again rewarded for their never-say-die spirit.

livingston-v-celtic-ladbrokes-scottish-premiership-tony-macaroni-arena Celtic's Jeremie Frimpong (left) and Scott Brown after the game. Source: Ian Rutherford

“I was delighted with the performance and we deserved three points,” said Celtic boss Lennon.

“Their goal could easily have been a foul on Fraser, their second goal was poor from our point of view and for the rest of the game we were magnificent.

“Against a difficult opponent on a difficult pitch, we were absolutely outstanding.

“I had total belief that we would get the equaliser.

“Tom came up with the goods but the team were fantastic, their mindset, intensity and will to win was there in evidence.

I am sitting here disappointed that it is the first two points we have dropped in 2020 and I didn’t think we deserved it because we dominated the game for long periods and in the end we broke them. It is a privilege for me to manage this team.

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