Celtic put daylight between themselves and the chasing pack with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Hearts last Sunday afternoon at Celtic Park. Goals from Kyogo and Georgios Giakoumakis secured the 3 points to edge the champions ahead in this seasons title race. Such was the dominance of the display the visitors failed to register a single shot on target in over 90 minutes of football.
Looking to maintain our 100% winning start to the league campaign, manager Ange Postecoglou kept faith in the starting eleven who had wiped the floor with Kilmarnock last weekend at Rugby Park. The continuity within the team select coupled with the flawless start will provide the boss with some comfort in being able to nurse some players back from injury, including Carl Startfelt and Reo Hatate.
Good, quick combinations through a congested midfield helped release Daizen Maeda in the right wing where despite looking like he had been fouled by the covering Hearts defender he delivered a pinpoint cross to countryman Kyogo to slam the ball into the net from 6 yards out. The first half had a familiar feel to it with Celtic dominating ball and territorial possession however, we were unable to convert that pressure into any more goals in the opening 45 minutes.
The theme of maintaining possession, without really having any cutting in edge in the final third continued into the second half. Reo Hatate was introduced to try to add an extra spark from midfield and his combination down the left with Jota and Taylor opened up a stuffy Hearts defence only for O’Riley to see his net bound shot saved well by the keeper.
With Celtic still only one goal ahead Hearts did push out more and enjoyed possession in the Celtic half creating a number of openings without ever testing Joe Hart in the Celtic goal. With almost 90 minutes on the clock tiredness and indiscipline came back to haunt the visitors. Firstly Cochrane received his second yellow card after a thigh high lunge at Celtic captain Callum McGregor, Sibbick followed his teammate up the tunnel before full time receiving his second yellow card after a silly push in the back of Celtic sub Abada.
With full time approaching Celtic finally secured the 3 points when Giakoumakis finished from inside the 6 yard box. The consistency of our Greek striker and Kyogo will no doubt give the manager plenty to think about in fitting both players into the system, but with so many games to be played before the break for the World Cup – both players know they will be getting plenty of game time.
While the performance never had the same sparkle as our road victory over Kilmarnock, the 3 points secured in the east end of Glasgow on Sunday will count the same as we strive to retain our well-earned title from last season.
Next up Dundee United on Sunday
Martin Donaldson is a Glasgow East End Bhoy, He made my first trip to Celtic Park in 1983 for a 0-0 draw with Brechin City & thankfully that never put him off going back. He now sits perched high in section 409 of the North Stand with his 2 kids making memories along the Celtic Way.
He loves picking out those matches from yester-year to find out much more about the legendary names & faces that have graced the Celtic Jersey over the years. He is a keen fundraiser for The Celtic Foundation & The British Heart Foundation as they both strive to make a difference and to change peoples lives all over the world.