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Livingston 0-3 Celtic: Champions return to top of Scottish Premiership

Celtic returned to top spot in the Scottish Premiership after a strong second-half showing overpowered stubborn Livingston.

The breakthrough came from a fortuitous Jamie Brandon own goal and home goalkeeper Shamal George was kept busy before Paulo Bernardo crashed in a splendid strike.

Matt O'Riley added a third late on, his tame shot eluding George.

The defending champions lead Rangers by a point again having played a game more, with the Old Firm rivals ready to meet at Ibrox next Sunday.

Bottom club Livingston remain 10 points adrift of Ross County with seven games to go.

Reo Hatate was making just his fifth league start of the season following a series of injuries and the Japan midfielder curled a strike wide from 20 yards during a drab first half.

Despite having 76% possession, the visitors' first shot on target came in stoppage time before the interval, with George at full stretch to push away a sharp effort from Kyogo Furuhashi.

The striker had earlier been the subject of a brief VAR check for a possible penalty when Nicky Devlin appeared to dunt his heel with a challenge from behind.

The anxiousness in the three stands containing Celtic fans lifted four minutes into the second half when Hatate found room to test George from close range and the rebound struck Brandon on the chest before trundling over the line.

George then had to look lively to keep out a rising strike from Nicolas Kuhn and made a great diving stop to thwart Kyogo again.

Bernardo replaced the impressive Hatate and wasted no time in making an impression, driving forward to work a one-two with O'Riley before drilling the ball low into the corner of the net from near the edge of the box.

The one-way traffic continued and O'Riley completed the scoring with his 12th goal of the season when George failed to stop a weak shot.

Player of the match - Reo Hatate (Celtic)

More to follow.