Livingston 0 Celtic 2: Celtic move within three points of another SPL title

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The Independent Football

Celtic are now 90 minutes away from the Scottish Premier League title after a 2-0 win over Livingston at Almondvale. After an evenly matched first half, goals by Maciej Zurawski and Shaun Maloney from the penalty spot gave the visitors a comfortable win.

The Celtic captain, Neil Lennon, is aiming for a double celebration, hoping to sign a new contract once the title is won. "The club have made it clear they want me to stay," he said. "And I will sit down with the manager [Gordon Strachan] when the championship is over and we will try and sort things out."

The Bhoys are 17 points clear at the top again and now just need to beat second-placed Hearts at Parkhead on 5 April to regain the title from rivals Rangers.

The match had promised to be nothing more than a straightforward Celtic win but it was not until the second half that they could begin their championship countdown. Strachan brought on the full-back Ross Wallace for Paul Telfer at the break with Mark Wilson moving to his more familiar right-back role. The move paid off within two minutes when Maloney's cross from the left found Zurawski, who had the easiest of tasks to slot the ball in.

The goal seemed to settle Strachan's side, and in the 50th minute the visitors won a penalty when Dion Dublin was pulled back by the Livingston captain, Emmanuel Dorado. Maloney sent McKenzie the wrong way for his 15th goal of the season.

Livingston have not taken a point since 17 December when they drew with Aberdeen. But their manager, John Robertson, is still hopeful. "There is a spirit about us at the club and we are trying really hard," he said. "We got about Celtic really well and created chances. We need a bit more belief in the last third. But the goals-against column speaks volumes. It is not good enough but we are working hard at that."

Goals: Zurawski (47) 0-1; Maloney pen (52) 0-2.

Livingston (4-4-2): McKenzie; Mackay, Strong, Dorado, Tierney; McNamee (Healy, 57), Adams (Dorrans, 61), Brittain, Hoolahan; Morrow, Walker. Substitutes not used: Snodgrass, Roy (gk), Hislop, Miller, Whelan.

Celtic (4-3-3): Boruc; Telfer (Wallace, 45), McManus, Baldé, Wilson (Varga, 64); Nakamura, Petrov, Lennon; Maloney, Dublin (Hartson, 80), Zurawski. Substitutes not used: Marshall (gk), Thompson, Pearson, Lawson.

Referee: K Clark (Scotland).

Booked: Livingston Walker, Strong; Celtic McManus.

Man of the match: Lennon.

Attendance: 7,486.

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