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Ange's Century as Hoops Host Hearts

Discussion in 'TalkCeltic News' started by Taz, Mar 6, 2023.

By Taz on Mar 6, 2023 at 7:26 PM
  1. Taz Blind Justice Gold Member News Writer

    Sep 3, 2009
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    Ange's Century: Hoops Host Hearts
    ~~~~~~~~~~ Official TC Match Preview ~~~~~~~~~~

    October: Greg Taylor's winner left Hearts broken as the Hoops won 4-3 at Tynecastle

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Celtic Park, Glasgow
    Wednesday, 8 March 2023
    19.45 GMT

    The Hoops host Robbie Neilsen's Hearts side on Wednesday evening, as the Bhoys close in on clinching the League title, with just 11 games to be played and looking to at least maintain their 9 point lead at the top of the table.

    This game will be the first of two back to back meetings between these sides, with a Scottish Cup Quarter-Final looming on Saturday, but Wednesday is all about the League and taking that next step.

    It's also fitting to note that Wednesday will also mark Ange Postecoglou's 100th competitive game in charge of the Hoops - and as fate would have it, against Hearts, who were the opposition for that very first game, which ended 2-1 in the favour of the Edinburgh outfit.

    The Celtic side that day was Bain; Ralston, Bitton, Starfelt, Taylor; Soro, McGregor, Turnbull; Forrest, Edouard & Abada. And while all of those players except for Bitton and Edouard are still on Celtic's books, it is unlikely that more than perhaps 3 or 4 will be in the starting XI on Wednesday.

    Suffice to say a lot has changed since then and the Australian deserves so much credit and praise for the transformation that the club has gone through since then - including winning all six subsequent encounters between these sides.​

    Liel Abada made his impact felt as he helped spark the second half performance against St Mirren

    Hearts, for their part, are coming into this game in shakey form, having won just 2 of their past 5 league games and it has been something of a rocky season. As such they are still looking to cement their 3rd place status in a campaign plagued by injuries and beset with inconsisent performances.

    There have been days when Hearts have really been on the money and on paper have a pretty impressive squad that Robbie Neilsen has assembled, but largely their successes have come from at Tynecastle, while they've picked up just 3 wins on their travels in the League this season.

    That all said, Hearts are coming into this on the back of a 3-0 win over St. Johnstone at the weekend, and the last time these sides met it finished with Celtic winning 4-3 in what was a true Game-of the-Season contender, back in October.

    By the Numbers

    • The Hoops have won the last 11 straight games across all competitions and are undefeated in the last 20 league games - winning 19 of these.
    • Celtic are unbeaten at home in all domestic matches since January 2021.
    • The Bhoys have won each of the past 6 clashes between these sides.
    • Both teams are undefeated when they have scored first this season - although Hearts have only managed to score first 3 times away from Tynecastle.
    • The Edinburgh club have won just 2 of their past 5 League games overall, and have only managed to win Cup games away from Tynecastle in 2023 thus far.
    This match against Hearts will be Ange Postecoglou's 100th competitive game in charge

    Team News

    Ange Postecoglou has close to a full squad to pick from with only James McCarthy (hamstring) continuing to be out of action. As such, it really comes down to how the boss wants to send his team out, and there may be a change or two to the starting XI, after an unconvincing start to the game in Paisley on Sunday.

    As for the Edinburgh side, they still have a slew of long term absentees to contend with. Former Celts Craig Gordon and Gary Mackay-Steven along with Craig Halkett, Liam Boyce and Beni Baningime are all ruled out, while there remains doubts whether Peter Haring (concussion) and Stephen Humphrys (illness) will be available.​

    Referee: Alan Muir

    Alan Muir made his Premiership debut way back in April 2008 and has held the whistle in 207 top flight games since then. Celtic are undefeated in all games when Muir has been the referee. Wednesday will be just the 2nd time this season that he has been appointed to a match involving Celtic, following the 4-0 win over Hibs in December.

    Celtic's Overall Record
    M: 37 W: 33 D: 4 L: 0

    VAR: Nick Walsh


    [​IMG] ~~~~ Head to Head ~~~~ [​IMG]

    P: 263 W: 182 D: 47 L: 34

    Last 5 Meetings
    W W W W W

    [​IMG] ~~~~ 2022/23 Form ~~~~ [​IMG]

    W W W W W ~ W L W W L

    W W W W W ~ W L W L D
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