16.01.2021 19:29 h

Depleted Celtic held again by Livingston

Celtic's misguided mid-season trip to Dubai cost them two more points as, without 13 self-isolating players, the Scottish champions were held 0-0 at home by Livingston.

The Hoops' run of nine straight league titles seems certain to be ended by runaway leaders Rangers as a point only edged Celtic to within 20 points of the top with two games in hand.

After defender Christopher Jullien tested positive on the club's return from the Middle East last weekend, the majority of the first team plus manager Neil Lennon and his assistant John Kennedy have been forced to isolate.

A weakened team were also held 1-1 by Hibernian on Monday and any hope of catching Rangers faded away in a goalless draw which Livingston will feel they should have won.

Josh Mullin hit the bar for the visitors late on as their eight-game winning streak came to an end.

"It's not good enough," said Celtic stand-in captain Callum McGregor. "It was really, really poor. It was a disappointing afternoon and we need to learn quickly. We're dropping too many points that's for sure."

Celtic did not have a senior striker available and it showed as they rarely threatened. But 18-year-old Armstrong Okoflex nearly snatched all three points late on when he just failed to meet Anthony Ralston's low cross.

The sides meet again on Wednesday when Celtic will have their first-team stars available.

However, their return is almost certainly too late to deny Steven Gerrard his first trophy as Rangers manager.

Elsewhere, Ross County's shock 4-1 win over Aberdeen lifted the Highlanders off the foot of the table as Oli Shaw scored twice.

Defeat for the Dons allowed Hibs to move up to third as they beat Kilmarnock 2-0 at Easter Road.

Hamilton remain a point off the bottom following a 0-0 draw against Dundee United, while St Johnstone beat St Mirren 1-0.

Motherwell are now bottom of the table ahead of their daunting trip to Rangers on Sunday.