Celtic 1-0 Hearts: Kyogo Furuhashi’s first-half goal sees Celtic edge past Hearts

Kyogo Furuhashi’s strike saw Celtic edge to a 1-0 victory in a pulsating match against Hearts, opening up a five point gap over their opponents.

It was a fast-paced, breathless Scottish Premiership encounter, with Celtic dominating the opening period. They deservedly took the lead too as Kyogo (33) scored for the first time in three games.

Hearts were much improved after the break – wasting no time in introducing Liam Boyce from the bench – but despite their best efforts, could not find the net. Celtic, meanwhile, were kept at bay by a string of superb saves from their former No 1 Craig Gordon as well as some inspired Hearts defending.

But the one goal was enough to secure a vital victory for the hosts, who are now four points behind leaders Rangers with a healthy gap to Hearts in third place.

The only dampener on the evening for Celtic were injuries to Anthony Ralston, Jota and Stephen Welsh – the latter two substituted in quick succession ahead of a busy festive period.

How Celtic saw off a spirited Hearts

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Kyogo Furuhashi rifles the ball to the near post to put Celtic ahead against Hearts

It was a lightning fast start at Celtic Park, with the hosts seeing a raft of early chances. Hearts were almost the masters of their downfall inside 10 minutes when Gordon’s back pass put Cammy Devlin under pressure, allowing David Turnbull to easily nip in and steal the ball back.

He then found Jota down the left, but his shot was well saved by Gordon – atoning for his own mistake – and as he scrambled to keep the ball under his control, James Forrest came in at the back post. However, his toe-poke hit the bottom of the upright.

Team news

  • Celtic made three changes. Cameron Carter-Vickers, James McCarthy and Leil Abada drop to the bench, with Carl Starfelt, James Forrest and Tom Rogic coming into the side.
  • Hearts also made four changes. Beni Baningime and Andy Halliday were not included in the matchday squad, with Liam Boyce and Gary Mackay-Steven on the bench. Peter Haring, Aaron McEneff, Ben Woodburn and Josh Ginnelly came into the side.

Jota also saw a decent effort curl just wide of the far corner, before Callum McGregor’s effort from range pinged off Craig Halkett’s leg, forcing a leaping save from Gordon. The defender had Hearts’ best effort at the other end too, sending Stephen Kingsley’s free kick goalwards, but it went straight at Joe Hart.

But Celtic deservedly took the lead just after the half-hour. Tom Rogic held the ball up well before slipping in Ralston. It was then a low cross that found Kyogo in the six-yard box as he slotted home at the near post. Hearts had their hands up for offside, but with no flag raised or VAR to check, the goal stood.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - DECEMBER 02: Hearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon gets enough on the ball to put off James Forrest during a cinch Premiership match between Celtic and Heart of Midlothian at Celtic Park, on December 02, 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
Hearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon made a string of saves to keep Celtic from scoring a second goal

Celtic picked up where they left off in the second half, having two early efforts. Gordon made another superb leaping save to keep out Rogic’s effort from the left, before Turnbull saw a fierce drive well blocked. Hearts went close too, Kingsley unable to get a strong head onto Barrie McKay’s corner.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - DECEMBER 02: Celtic's Stephen Welsh goes off with an injury during a cinch Premiership match between Celtic and Heart of Midlothian at Celtic Park, on December 02, 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)
Stephen Welsh was one of three Celtic players to pick up injuries

As the clock ticked over into the 70th minute, Celtic were forced to make two injury substitutions. Ralston had already been replaced in the first half, injuring himself as he crossed for Kyogo’s goal, before Jota and Welsh were taken off in quick succession, giving Ange Postecoglu a potential selection headache.

Hearts began to see the upper hand, with McKay unfortunately seeing bottles thrown at him from the stands as he took over corner duties. He almost equalised late on for Hearts too, sending the ball flashing across the face of goal after Gary Mackay-Steven had lost his footing. Robbie Neilson was booked for his protests – thinking Mackay-Steven had been fouled – but in fact, there was no contact on the forward.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Hearts’ Barrie McKay was struck by a bottle whilst attempting to take a corner against Celtic

Gordon kept Hearts in the hunt for a point too with some wonderful late saves, denying Rogic and Forrest in quick succession, but Celtic already had enough to take the points.

Man of the match – Carl Starfelt

A really good performance from Starfelt on his return to the Celtic XI. There was some concern he may also have picked up an injury in the second half, but he saw out the game to help his side to a clean sheet.

What’s next?

Thursday 2nd December 7:00pm

Celtic travel to Dundee United in a game you can see live on Sky Sports Football on Sunday at 12pm, while Hearts visit Livingston also on Sunday, with the game kicking off at 3pm.

Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button