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  • Dominant Celts cruise into last 16

    Dominant Celts cruise into last 16

    By: Mark Henderson on 30 Nov, 2014 17:10

  • William Hill Scottish Cup fourth round
    Tynecastle Stadium, Edinburgh
    Sunday, November 30, 2014


    (Van Dijk 28, 61, Guidetti 53, Stokes 54)

    CELTIC ran riot against 10-man Hearts at Tynecastle to book their place in the Scottish Cup fifth round and maintain their treble ambitions.  

    After Morgaro Gomis saw red for the home side in the eighth minute for a dangerous tackle on Scott Brown, the Hoops assumed complete control of matters and fully capitalised on their one-man advantage.

    Virgil van Dijk swept home the opener in the 28th minute and John Guidetti doubled the lead from the penalty spot in the second half after he had been felled in the box by Brad McKay.

    A sweet strike from Anthony Stokes a minute later wasn’t the end of the scoring as van Dijk powered home a header following Stefan Johnansen’s corner, capping off a perfect day in the capital for Ronny Deila’s men.

    Nir Bitton started for the first time in over two months, lining up alongside Scott Brown in central midfield. The Israeli replaced the injured Charlie Mulgrew, with James Forrest and Guidetti also restored to the side following Thursday’s UEFA Europa League tie against FC Salzburg.

    As ever at Tynecastle, the match began at a furious tempo, with the first opening falling the way of the hosts.

    Less than two minutes were on the clock when former Celt James Keatings wriggled clear of Efe Ambrose on the edge of the box and forced Craig Gordon into a low save. But that was to be Hearts’ highlight of the first half as they were quickly reduced to 10 men.

    As Gomis and Brown fought for possession on the halfway line, the former’s reckless two-footed lunge saw him receive his marching orders. It was a decision that infuriated the home crowd but referee Willie Collum was left with little choice.

    With the numerical advantage, Celtic surged forward and began to threaten the Hearts goal. Johansen picked out Stokes from a corner and the Irishman’s effort was deflected over. Guidetti then experienced the same from a free-kick after the Swede had been fouled 25 yards from goal.   

    Hearts’ own set-piece specialist Alim Ozturk replied with a shot that dribbled wide but it was increasingly one-way traffic in the other direction.

    Only last-ditch blocks denied Brown and Forrest as they tried their luck from the edge of the box, before Adam Matthews drilled wide from distance. And Neil Alexander was rooted to the spot as a shot from Bitton was deflected inches wide of the post.

    Eventually the home side’s resistance was broken. Johansen’s corner fell for Stokes at the far post and he lashed it back into the mix. The loose ball broke for van Dijk and he confidently swept home into the corner.

    Sensing an opportunity to, Celtic went in search of a second. Bitton blasted a shot down the throat of Alexander, Johansen fired over and Stokes struck an effort straight at the Hearts No.1 after a purposeful run inside from the left.

    As Brown and Bitton continued to conduct proceedings, the pressure on Robbie Neilson’s side was unrelenting. After Forrest’s attempt had spun off a defender for a corner, Stokes whipped in the resultant set-piece and van Dijk somehow missed the target from point-blank range.   

    And there was still time for Forrest to come close before the break after good work from Gudetti in the box.

    There was no shift in the pattern of play after the interval as Celtic controlled possession, while Hearts mounted a rearguard action. But it didn’t take long for them to be breached twice in quick succession as the Hoops clinically killed off the contest.

    Guidetti was brought down in the box by Brad McKay and the Swedish striker picked himself up and confidently found the far corner for his 11th goal of the season.

    And 60 seconds later, Stokes made it 3-0, drilling home an angled shot beyond Alexander, much to the delight of a jubilant travelling support.

    Ronny Deila’s men were far from finished, however, and they inflicted further misery on Hearts just past the hour-mark as van Dijk bulleted home a header from Johansen’s corner.

    Having booked their spot in the next round, the closing stages were a procession on the pitch for Celtic and a celebration in the stands for the Hoops faithful.

    Jamie Walker and substitute Robbie Buchanan did raise the spirits slightly among a disconsolate home support with efforts on goal.

    And it could have been an even more miserable afternoon for the capital club had substitute Kris Commons not had a goal ruled off with 12 minutes remaining.

    CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Gordon; Matthews, Ambrose, van Dijk, Izaguirre; Brown, Bitton; Forrest (Tonev 58) Johansen (Commons 67) Stokes(Griffiths 67); Guidetti.
    Not Used: Zaluska, Kayal, O’Connell, McGregor.

    HEARTS (4-2-3-1) Alexander; Paterson, Ozturk, McKay, Eckersley; Gomis, Pallardo; King, Holt (Bauben 59), Walker (Buchanan 68); Keatings (Robinson 77).
    Not Used: Hamilton, McGhee, McKirdy, Flanagan

    Attendance: 12,676

    Website Man of the Match: Scott Brown

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