CELTIC came from behind to beat Hearts comprehensively at Tynecastle this afternoon to secure their first win in Edinburgh this season. The 3-1 victory for the 7 in a row Champions also ended the home sides’s unbeaten home record since they returned to Tynecastle after their early season tenancy at nearby Murrayfield.
Hearts kept the grass long and set about trying to repeat the trick they pulled off in December but Celtic were ready for them this time. The Hearts manager seems to have a rather unhealthy obsession with the Celtic captain this season so it was no surprise that Scott Brown was targeted in the early stages as some outrageous challenges went unpunished by referee Bobby Madden.
The SFA Compliance Officer must surely end Steven Naismith’s season on Tuesday morning when he takes a look at the cowardly assault by the former Rangers player on the Celtic captain. He could also look at the same player’s nasty stamp on James Forrest’s ankle – unbelievably not worthy of a free kick from the hapless referee.
Naithsmith should be hauled up for both offences on Tuesday morning.
Madden then awarded a corner to Hearts who only touched the ball because Lafferty pushed him in the back. Madden ignored the push and awarded Hearts a corner. They then scored from corner, but Madden spotted a foul on Scott Bain.
The goal should have stood, but it was never a corner.
The opening goal was coming though and after a foul of Scott Brown from Naithsmith was again ignored, Lafferty found room at the edge of the box and gleefully smashed the ball past Scott Bain to put Celtic behind.
Celtic though had answers this time and a Ntcham free kick found its way to the back post where Dedryck Boyata popped up and headed a wonderful effort into the Hearts goal from a near impossible again. The home side could argue that the big Belgian was marginally offside.
Moussa Dembele, who was excellent all afternoon, had two efforts in the first half, one produced an outstanding save by the Hearts keeper and the other one was Larssonesque, but the crossbar came to Hearts rescue.
In the sunshine on a warm sunny day, Hearts failed to maintain their intensity in the second half and it was no surprise when Celtic took the lead through Moussa Dembele after world class vision and execution of a pass from Celtic talisman Tom Rogic.
The Australian found the French striker in acres of space and Dembele opened up his body and placed the ball back across the Hearts keeper to give Celtic. deserved lead.
Once in front Celtic never looked likely to lose control of the game, other than a final flurry in stoppage time from Hearts that saw some activity in the Celtic box but no real danger.
Kieran Tierney, among the Celtic fans…
He bleeds green ???? pic.twitter.com/D78I4TWcFg
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 6, 2018
All the real goal scoring attempts were happening in front of the Celtic support, which today included Kieran Tierney. Celtic counter attacked Hearts relentlessly and the three substitutes combined to put the green and white icing on the cake. Paddy Roberts took the ball to the corner flag and won a throw-in then released Stuart Armstrong – who had earlier failed to square to a frustrated Scotty Sinclair, who always enjoys a goal at Tynecastle. Armstrong got the message and this time squared to Celtic’s top scorer who forced the ball over the line.
The Celtic support sang loud and proud all afternoon and the players responded at the final whistle to indulge in some additional league winning celebrations.
While that was going on Brendan Rodgers had another pop at Hearts for their long grass, and made the point that Celtic were never going to allow themselves to be out muscled like the last time.
“We weren’t going to get outdone physically again,” Brendan said. “The pitch I am a little bit embarrassed today. The grass was so long that you couldn’t pass the ball.”
Rodgers though was delighted with the performance given the aggression that they faced – not all of it legal.
“The players stood up to that, we could have got a few more goals,” the Celtic manager noted.
The downside of the trip to Tynecastle is the apparent hamstring injury to Odsonne Edouard midway through the second half which resulted in Rodgers withdrawing Dembele with the Cup Final in mind.
Rodgers revealed that Leigh Griffiths had been “ill most of the week” so was not available today. He will be fine for the remaining two league matches against Kilmarnock and Aberdeen and the Cup Final against Motherwell.
The Celtic boss also explained that Charly Musonda hurt his shoulder in training in Tenerife during the week so has gone back to Chelsea for treatment. It should be noted that when Paddy Roberts was injured he too went back to his parent club Manchester City, so there isn’t anything unusual in this.
But it was a lovely day in Edinburgh for Celtic and the away support, in fact you could call it another Beautiful Sunday.
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