Celtic 1—0 Hearts

Kyogo Furuhashi scored the winner after thirty-three minutes. Kyogo’s fourteenth of the season in a first-half which Celtic dominated. Rogic came back into the team. No big surprise, and the Australian helped to set up the first goal. He played a pass to Anthony Ralston who was overlapping outside the penalty box, near the touchline. He went off injured after he’d swept in a ball and our Japanese striker pounced. Kyogo has been quiet, by his standards of late, but he’s the man that does the doggies that keeps opposition defences occupied, even when he’s not scoring, he working for the team.

Starfelt back. A tackle inside the Celtic box by the much-maligned Swede in the first half-hour was terrific. He offered a threat up front too. Better from him, long may it continue.

 I take it Cameron Carter-Vickers is injured. Daily Record reports suggest a ten-million pound fee for the Tottenham loan player. The answer is a big fat naw, whatever way you want to look at it. The mystery of Julien’s return remains. Media questions about him are more quickly shut down by Ange Postecoglou than referees pointing to the spot for another Rangers’ penalty in the last ten minutes of games they are drawing.  Will the Frenchman wear a Celtic jersey again?

Starfelt limping towards the end of the match and Welsh off and toiling makes the answer to that question more important.

Ex-Celt Craig Gordon made a few good saves. One from a deflected shot off Hackett the keeper got a hand to. Before the Kyogo opener, James Forrest really should have scored. Jota found some space and his shot was saved by Gordon. The ball arched into the air. One yard from goal, Forrest hit the post. Kyogo also played him in with a few minutes remaining. Facing down the keeper, Forrest blinked first and Gordon saved.

 Hearts were lucky to be only one down at half-time, but they came into it on the second half with far more possession and more chances. Rogic and Turnbull went close with a few efforts. But Hearts really should have scored.

Celtic’s old failing from free kicks and corners resurfaced. Stephen Kingsley had a free header in the six-yard box from a corner, early in the half.

Hackett, from another corner, another great chance, later in the half.

Substitute, Gary MacKay Stevens made an impact in a Heart’s breakaway late in the game that looked sure to gain the Edinburgh team a draw. McGregor halted him inside the box with a slide tackle. Heart’s manager Neilston got booked thinking it was a penalty. But the ball fell for Barry McKay who could—and should— have scored, but slid it past the post.    

Celtic aren’t good at seeing out games. In Europe a two-goal lead has me praying of a draw. We can’t defend and the statistics speak for themselves. Bitton coming on for Welsh helped, perhaps not in terms of tackling and winning balls in the air, but his composure holding the ball, and playing forward passes, bought us time.

Jota, who has been giving us a goal a game in the last five, pulling up and going off with a possible hamstring injury is massive loss any way you look at it.  Mikey Johnston came on, but didn’t shine. Abada has lost his goal scoring ability and seems one dimensional. One of the surprises of this season has been Tony Ralston. His physicality gives us something extra in defence, as does his constant running and hunger to close down. He too will be missed.

In a game in which we were coasting, we struggled, but got there in the end. Missiles were thrown on the pitch supporters in the Celtic end and McKay was struck by an object. A fine will follow; more money wasted, and besmirches our reputation. We need more and better players to come in and do it when brought on. Fingers and toes crossed, Jota, in particular, gets better. Every game is a big game now. Next up, United at Tannadice. Must win. Must win. Must win.  Must win. Must win. Must win.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s