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  • Celtic suffer defeat to Hearts at Tynecastle

    Celtic suffer defeat to Hearts at Tynecastle

    By: Tony Connelly on 11 Aug, 2018 14:31

  • Scottish Premiership
    Saturday, August 11, 2018
    Tynecastle, Edinburgh

    (Lafferty 57)


    CELTIC were unable to find a way past stubborn Hearts defence at Tynecastle and paid the price when Kyle Lafferty found the back of the net to secure Craig Leven’s side all three-points with a 1-0 win.

    Lafferty’s volley in the second half was enough to separate the two teams in the capital.

    Brendan Rodgers made five changes to side that drew 1-1 against AEK Athens in midweek with Jonny Hayes, Jozo Simunovic, Eboue Kouassi, Scott Sinclair and Leigh Griffiths all coming into the starting XI for Celtic’s second Premiership game of the new season.

    That meant kristoffer Ajer, Olivier Ntcham, James Forrest, Tom Rogic and Odsonne Edouard started the game on the bench.

    It was an aggressive, high tempo start to the game as both sides tried to establish their dominance. 

    Celtic came closest to scoring first when Callum McGregor floated a cross into the box for Griffiths, however the Hoops striker’s glancing header was off target.

    Both sides showed urgency in attack and Hearts tested Craig Gordon early on when Lafferty got on the end of a cross at the far post but his header was straight at Hoops keeper. Shortly afterwards, Naithsmith saw his ambitious effort from outside the box comfortably saved by Gordon.

    After a back and forth start to the half Celtic eventually settled into their rhythm and began to control more of the possession as the half went on. Soon they were carving openings in the Hearts defence, particularly down the left where Tierney and Sinclair looked lively.

    A Tierney run almost sparked a Celtic goal midway through the first half when he cut inside and picked out Hayes on the edge of the box. The Irishman’s first-time pass split the Hearts defence and presented Sinclair with a glimpse of goal but his shot from a tight angle flashed narrowly wide of Zdenek Zlamal’s far post.  

    The Hoops improved as the half progressed and increased the pressure on the home side in the last third. Another opportunity to break the deadlock came when Griffiths held the ball up on the edge of the box with his back to goal before laying off McGregor, however Zlamal was saved by his defence who managed to block the shot.

    The Scottish Champions were firmly in the driving seat as half-time approached and were unfortunate not to go into the break ahead after Griffiths had done so well dribble away from the Hearts defence and round the keeper but his shot was cleared off the line.

    Celtic started the second brightly with a couple of opportunities early on by way of a Lustig shot from inside the box which the keeper had to punch over his crossbar. The second saw Sinclair feed a neat pass through to Griffiths but his shot was straight at the keeper.

    Hearts snatched a goal just over 10 minutes into the second period when Uche Ikpeazu muscled his way down the right and cut cross back which Lafferty met on the volley, sending the ball past Gordon and into the bottom corner.  

    Brendan Rodgers responded with a double substitution of Odsonne Edouard and James Forrest for Griffiths and Hayes before bring on Tom Rogic for Kouassi.

    The changes rejuvenated Celtic’s attacking threat from the end of the first half but the home side defended their lead aggressively and limited the number of goal scoring opportunities for the Hoops.

    Rogic nearly produced a moment of magic on the edge of the area when he pounced on a loose ball and tried to curl a shot into the bottom corner but his effort skimmed past the outside of the post.

    It was a scrappy end to the game as Hearts sat in deep and defended their one goal advantage. They prevented Celtic from building any momentum with persistent fouling in midfield and Brendan Rodgers side could find no way past the home side before the final whistle brought the game to an end.

    Celtic will now turn their full attention to Tuesday’s (August 14) crucial Champions League qualifier second leg in Athens.

    CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Gordon, Lustig, Simunovic, Hendry, Tierney; Brown, Kouass (Rogic 69)i; Hayes (Forrest 62), McGregor; Sinclair; Griffiths (Edouard 62)
    Subs: Bain, Ntcham, Ajer, Johnston

    HEARTS (4-5-2) Zlamal; Smith, Souttar, Garuccio, Berra (Hughes 45+2); Haring, Lee, Naismith, Mulraney (Bozanic 73); Lafferty (Cochrane 81), Ikpeazu
    Not Used: Doyle, MacLean, McDonald, Morrison



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