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Celts Seek to be Heart Breakers

Discussion in 'TalkCeltic News' started by Taz, Mar 1, 2024.

By Taz on Mar 1, 2024 at 8:50 PM
  1. Taz Blind Justice Gold Member News Writer

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    Celts Seek to be Heart Breakers
    ~~~~~~~~~~ Official TC Match Preview ~~~~~~~~~~

    [​IMG]
    Luis Palma in action against Tony Sibbick when Celtic beat Hearts, 4-1, back in October

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Tynecastle Stadium, Edinburgh
    Sunday, 3 March 2024
    12.00 GMT

    The Hoops will be looking for some payback, in addition to keeping their Premiership campaign on track, when they travel through to Edinburgh to take on 3rd placed Hearts at Ttnecastle on Sunday.

    The Bhoys served a reminder of just how potent and dangerous they can be when everything clicks as it did in midweek, when they hammered Dundee, 7-1.

    Despite the emphatic performance, it is important to not get too carried away at this stage though, despite closing the gap in goal difference, the Bhoys still trail the league leaders by 2 points going into this weekend.

    While it appears that Brendan Rodgers has finally stumbled upon a starting XI that could prove to be the catalyst for the Hoops' surge to the end of the season, it has only been one and a half games, and as such, still too soon to be sure.

    The inclusion of Tomoki Iwata's composure in midfield has allowing Callum McGregor's skills to be better utilized in a more advanced role. On the right side, Yang Hyun-jun and Alistair Johnston have struck up a promising partnership that could give opposition fullback's nightmares, while Adam Idah has added some much needed physicality up front.

    When these componants have been harnessed together this past week it has already produced an astounding 9 goals in just 106 minutes on the pitch together. That is a remarkable return, especially considering the struggles the Bhoys have had in recent times finding the back of the net prior to that.​

    [​IMG]
    Yang Hung-Jun was a constant threat against Dundee on Wednesday

    The Hoops will need to be fully prepared for a rough reception on Sunday, after the tough week that Hearts have had in contrast.

    After 8 straight wins had moved the Gorgie club 14 points clear in 3rd place ahead of Killie in 4th, this past week has seen that run come to a crashing halt. Last weekend, they ended up being on the wrong end of a 5-0 demolition when they visited Ipox, and then on Wednesday, they were fortunate to come away with a point after a 1-1 draw in the Edinburgh derby, despite being outplayed by their city rivals.

    After having had their pride dented, Steven Naismith's side will be looking to to get their own form back on track, and a win against a team like Hearts can never simply be taken for granted.

    After all, no Celtic fan will have forgotten that the last time these sides met - although many wish they probably could. Brendan Rodgers side were on a high after defeating Feyenoord in the Champions League going into the game, yet were utterly dismal in what was an abject display at home, which was duly punished, 2-0 by Hearts.

    The result not only ended an undefeated run at Paradise of more than 50 domestic games, that had stretched back to January 2021, it was also the Capital side's first win at Parkhead since 2009.

    It has only been a couple of wins, but it is crucial that Celtic continue to do so to keep pressure on the league leaders, and quite simply need to maintain this form if they are to retain the title.

    If the situation of needing to stay in touch with the league leaders were not motivation enough coming into this game, then surely the opportunity to restore some pride and gain some measure of payback for the ignomony of that December defeat should provide more than enough to have the Celts fully up for this clash.

    By the Numbers

    • Celtic have won 10 of the past 11 meetings between these sides across all competitions (9 Lg, 1 LC, 1 SC) - all except the most recent.
    • The Hoops have won 8 of their last 9 visits to Tynecastle.
    • Celtic have not kept a clean sheet in any of the 5 Premiership games since the end of January.
    • Hearts are undefeated at Tynecastle in league games when they have scored first.
    • Lawrence Shankland has scored 19 League goals this season - just one less than Celtic's top 2 - Matt O'Riley (11) and Kyogo Furuhashi (9) combined.
    [​IMG]
    Kyogo has scored in 8 of his last 9 appearances against Hearts

    Team News

    Apart from Reo Hatate and Maik Nawrocki, Rodgers has one other significant injury doubt, concerning Callum McGregor possibly missing with an achielles strain.

    While the skipper is impossible to replace, thankfully there are midfield options available, with Bernardo likely, but otherwise is unlikely to stray far from the starting XI that demolished Dundee in midweek.

    One other fact, however, may give the manager pause for consideration; Kyogo has a simply incredible record against Hearts, having been on the scoresheet in 8 of the last 9 games he has played against them. This will need to be weighed up against the physicality and impact that Adam Idah has had since his arrival on loan in January.

    The Celtic defence will need to be on their toes to keep the Jambos' star striker, Lawrence Shankland quiet, as the Scotland International has scored 26 goals in 36 competitive games this season.

    Hopefully the return of Cameron Carter-Vickers will help solidify the backline and the Hoops can start producing more clean sheets over the remainder of the season.​

    As for the hosts, Steven Naismith continues to be without Barry McKay, Liam Boyce, Peter Haring, Craig Halkett and very likely Yutaro Oda also.

    Referee: Don Robertson

    The 37y.o whistleblower has officiated 168 Premiership games, but only once previously taken charge of a game between these two sides, which resulted in a 4-1 win for the Hoops, back in May 2022.

    Celtic's Overall Record
    M:34 W:30 D:3 L:1

    VAR: John Beaton

    [​IMG]
    Cameron Carter-Vickers opens the scoring against Dundee. It was his first start in over a month

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

    Overall
    P: 334 W: 181 D: 75 L: 78

    Last 5 Meetings
    L W W W W

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

    All Comps
    W W D W W ~ D L W W W

    SPFL
    W W D W D ~ D L W W W
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2024