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  • Five-star Celts dismantle Hearts to go 10 points clear

    Five-star Celts dismantle Hearts to go 10 points clear

    By: Tony Connelly on 12 Feb, 2020 21:36

  • Scottish Premiership
    Wednesday, February 12, 2020
    Celtic Park, Glasgow

    CELTIC…5
    (Ntcham 30, Jullien 46, McGregor 53, Christie 66, Simunovic 80)

    HEARTS…0

    CELTIC continued their impressive winning run as they dismantled Hearts 5-0 at Paradise. The champions outclassed their opponents with a dominant performance to increase their lead at the top of the table to 10 points.

    Olivier Ntcham gave Celtic a 1-0 lead going into half-time and two quick-fire goals from Christopher Jullien and Callum McGregor shortly after the restart increased Celtic’s lead. Ryan Christie then made it four before Jozo Simunovic rounded off the scoring with the fifth of the night.

    Celtic set the tempo earlty on as they quickly began peppering the Hearts goal. A lovely piece of link-up play between Edouard and Griffiths opened up the Hearts defence, with the Frenchman back-heeling the ball into the path of his team-mate, but Griffiths effort was blocked inside the box.

    Celtic also threatened in the wide areas early on. Jon Souttar intercepted a Greg Taylor cutback from the left while James Forrest skinned Jamie Walker on the opposite flank before floating a good cross into the box which was headed clear by the opposition defence.

    Another slick piece of play between the two front men saw Edouard set up Griffiths, but the shot from distance flashed narrowly over the crossbar.

    The good start gave the champions momentum and they continued to pile the pressure on as the first half unfolded. Forrest was a constant threat out on the right and had a couple of chances to equal his goal tally from last season.

    With his first attempt he cut inside and curled a shot towards the back post only to be denied by a great save from Joel Pereira. He pounced on the rebound and quickly laid off Griffiths, but Pereira again made the save.

    He got beyond Ben Garuccio moments later and set himself up for a shot on goal with a lovely first touched, but the Hearts defender made a desperate block to deny the Hoops winger.

    Hearts almost snatched the lead with a rare chance. Andrew Irving’s free-kick from the edge of the area made it over the wall but Fraser Forster was well-positioned to deal with it.

    Celtic quickly responded with a goal on the half-hour mark. Edouard worked some space for himself on the corner of the box and curled a shot across goal. The keeper managed to make the save, but Ntcham was in place to volley the rebound into the back of the net.

    And Celtic almost punished Hearts with a counter-attack just before half-time as Edouard ran at the opposition defence alongside Griffiths. He slipped the ball to his team-mate but Griffiths shot only found the side-netting.

    It took just one minute of the second half for Celtic to double their lead. Griffiths delivered a good cross into the box from a corner and Jullien rose above the Hearts defence and headed the ball home.The French defender was on cue to meet another corner two minutes, heading the ball down for Jozo Simunovic whose acrobatic volley came back off the post.

    Celtic were firmly in control and did not let up on the pressure they piled on the Hearts defence. The champions moved the ball with speed and were able to add to their lead again less than 10 minutes after the restart.

    McGregor initiated a counter-attack from midfield and coolly tucked the ball into the bottom corner with a first-time left-footed strike, finishing off a one-two with Taylor.

    The champions looked hungry to add to their lead and almost did so when Forrest collected a clearance from a header and fired off a powerful shot from the edge of the box. His attempt looked destined for the top corner but Pereira flew across goal to stop the shot.

    Christie made an immediate impact upon his introduction with Celtic’s fourth goal. Breaking away in possession, Taylor tore down the left wing and whipped a cross into the box for Edouard. A deflection off a Hearts player saw the ball fall into the path of Christie and his first-time shot from the edge of the penalty area floated past the keeper.

    Simunovic made it 5-0 for the champions when he headed in from a corner with the 10 minutes remaining. Celtic maintained the tempo late into the game and the visitors' frustration was summed up in Marcel Langer’s late challenge on Scott Brown which resulted in a red card for the Hearts player.

    CELTIC: Forster; Simunovic, Jullien, Ajer, Forrest (Elyounoussi 71), Taylor; Brown, Ntcham (Rogic 78), McGregor; Griffiths (Christie 64), Edouard
    Subs: Bain, Bauer, Hayes , Bayo

    HEARTS: Pereira; Smith (Moore 70), Souttar, Clare (Langer 45), Walker, Naismith, Garuccio, McDonald (Washington 28), Halkett, Boyce, Irving
    Subs: Zlamal, Ikpeazu, Damour, Avdijaj

    Website Man of the Match: Callum McGregor

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