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2008-02-16: Celtic 3-0 Hearts, Premier League
|Match Pictures | Matches:2007 - 2008 | 2007-2008 Pictures|
- Hinkel scored his first goal for us.
- Starting game for Hutchison.
- Trouble in Hearts area between their fans and the stewards
ReviewSurprisingly easy victory for the Celts, with three goal win and two shots off the post, all by different players. Entertaining and flowing, plaudits all round, but for most McGeady (again) and Donatti were the stars of the show. Dodgey defending still at times, but Hinkel has settled in quickly and scored his first goal for us too!
Onwards now to Champions League game on Wednesday v Barcelona!
Boruc, Hinkel, Caldwell, McManus, Naylor, Nakamura, Donati (Robson 77), Scott Brown, McGeady, McDonald (Hutchinson 87), Vennegoor of Hesselink (Samaras 73)
Subs Not Used:- Mark Brown, O'Dea, Sno, Hartley.
Scorers:- Vennegoor of Hesselink 14, McDonald 51, Hinkel 76
Banks, Neilson, Berra, Goncalves, Karipidis, Cesnauskis (Mikoliunas 68), Palazuelos, Jonsson, Driver, Velicka, Ksanavicius (Nade 72).
Subs Not Used:- Basso, Wallace, Zaliukas, McCann, Elliot.
Ref: D McDonald (Scotland).
Celtic 3-0 HeartsBy Martin Conaghan
Celtic narrowed the gap on Rangers at the top of the SPL table with a fine win over Hearts at Celtic Park.
Jan Venegoor of Hesselink opened the scoring with a 14th minute toe-poke after good work by Aiden McGeady.
Scott McDonald's simple header at the back post doubled Celtic's lead and added to his ever-mounting goal tally shortly after the break.
Andreas Hinkel picked up the third with a narrow-angled, close-range shot to give Celtic all three points.
Interview: Celtic manager Gordon Strachan
Interview: Hearts caretaker manager Stevie Frail
The home side threatened immediately in the opening minutes when Scott Brown fired in a searching ball for Vennegoor of Hesselink to head in from close range, but the quick-witted Steve Banks soon cleared the danger.
Moments later, Shunsuke Nakamura lined up a free-kick when Eggert Jonsson fouled McDonald on the edge of the penalty area.
The Japanese dead-ball specialist delivered a powerful shot that scudded Banks' left-hand post, but McDonald was unable to capitalise on the subsequent rebound.
With 10 minutes played, Nakamura was again at the heart of the action when Venegoor of Hesselink fed a reverse pass on the edge of the penalty area, and the 29-year-old midfielder struck for goal, but once again Banks saved.
Aiden McGeady was instrumental in Celtic's victory over Hearts
Celtic's hard work finally reaped a reward in the 14th minute following a Nakamura corner that bobbled around in the penalty area.
Aiden McGeady picked up the loose ball and weaved his way past the Hearts defence on the left-hand side of the box and flicked in a neat cross for the Dutchman to stab home his 12th goal of the season.
Despite the early deficit, Hearts' build-up play looked promising, but ultimately failed to present a significant threat to Artur Boruc's goal in the opening stages.
Andrew Driver broke free out on the left in the 18th minute, and Boruc abandoned his penalty area in an attempt to clear the danger, but the English midfielder had already over-reached and the ball drifted wide for goal kick.
Stephen McManus was called in to defensive action when Andrius Velicka looked set to connect with a drifting cross from Andrius Ksanavicius, but the 26-year-old Celtic captain headed a goal-bound effort over the bar to safety.
Shortly after the half-hour mark, Driver missed another golden opportunity to level the scores, but his shot was parried by Boruc and Velicka hit the side-netting on the rebound.
As the half-time whistle approached, Celtic remained the dominant side, but Hearts held out well to keep the score respectable at the break.
Shortly after the break, Celtic's new full-back Andreas Hinkel blasted in a powerful drive from the right-hand edge of the penalty area, but the direct effort went straight into the waiting arms of Banks.
At the other end, Driver picked up a long ball and outpaced the Celtic defence to line up a one-on-one with Boruc, but his final ball was feeble and Boruc saved easily.
With five minutes played of the second-half, McDonald notched up his 18th league goal of the season with a free header after Nakamura flighted in a corner from the left and the former Motherwell man was left unmarked to nod past Banks.
Hearts made an attempt to reply at the other end with a powerful right-footed shot from Velicka on the edge of the box after Boruc had surrendered possession.
Jonsson could have reduced Hearts' deficit in the 58th minute with a low drive, but couldn't significantly threaten Boruc.
With 60 minutes played, Celtic continued to force Hearts back and the visitors never looked likely to establish a foothold on the game.
Celtic confirmed their lead through Hinkel with 14 minutes remaining after the German international latched on to a loose ball on the left-hand side of the Hearts' penalty.
The 25-year-old full-back picked up a McGeady pass and sized up the narrow angle before blasting the ball high into the back of the net and effectively ending any hopes of a Hearts revival.
Bold efforts from McGeady and George Samaras in the dying minutes could have provided the home fans with a thrilling finale, but both were denied the final say.
Celtic now sit one point behind their city rivals Rangers in the SPL table, with the Ibrox side playing against Kilmarnock on Sunday.
Celtic: Boruc, Hinkel, Caldwell, McManus, Naylor, Nakamura, Donati (Robson 77), Scott Brown, McGeady, McDonald (Hutchinson 87), Vennegoor of Hesselink (Samaras 73). Subs Not Used: Mark Brown, O'Dea, Sno, Hartley.
Goals: Vennegoor of Hesselink 14, McDonald 51, Hinkel 76.
Hearts: Banks, Neilson, Berra, Goncalves, Karipidis, Cesnauskis (Mikoliunas 68), Palazuelos, Jonsson, Driver, Velicka, Ksanavicius (Nade 72). Subs Not Used: Basso, Wallace, Zaliukas, McCann, Elliot.
Ref: D McDonald (Scotland).
Celtic 3-0 Hearts
Feb 18 2008 Hugh Keevins Reports
AN open and shut case of identity theft has been detected at Celtic Park. The players who were dismal in December and jittery in January are now continuing with a fantastic February.
But are they the same people? Their names are identical but their mannerisms are entirely different.
The one known as Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink, for example, was once able to be criticised for being weak and ineffective in the penalty area.
But the man who had his jersey on at the weekend was alert to a cross from Aiden McGeady and brave when he got in front of Hearts keeper Steve Banks to get the opening goal.
Amidfield player signed for £4.5million, Scott Brown, was also able to be accused of having lost all semblances of the outstanding form he displayed when he joined Celtic at first.
Saturday saw a different man as Brown rampaged through the visiting defence leaving a trail of players in his wake.
His accomplice was a player derided by the crowd as "Dozy Donati" and dismissed as being too one-paced for the SPL.
Massimo Donati could have been named man of the match as easily as Brown or McGeady, the eventual recipient of the award.
And so it went on. Now comes the hard part. Everything that took place during a comfortable win over a side who'd been credited with a resurgence in form and a tight defence had to be seen in the context of Wednesday night's tie with Barcelona in the last 16 of the Champions League.
Scott McDonald got his 24th goal of the season and remains a phenomenon for the small amount of money that was spent to take him from Motherwell.
He has Champions League goals on his CV to maintain his confidence in midweek.
The problems lie elsewhere.
Andreas Hinkel is ineligible for the game after scoring a spectacular goal against Hearts that sealed their fate. But the fullback's lack of pace was endlessly exposed by Andrew Driver and if the young Englishman had possessed a finish on the day the margin of victory would have been less emphatic, if there at all.
Whoever replaces the German at the back will be an emergency measure and that's not what you want against one of the best sides in the world.
Celtic can't compress the game against Barcelona and leave too much space behind the back four otherwise they'll be punished by the lightning pace that is the dominant characteristic of all sides from Europe's top drawer.
But Champions League nights at Celtic Park have a lifeforce of their own. Some of the wins that Martin O'Neill and now Gordon Strachan have had in the past have defied all logic and understanding.
There was even a nostalgic reminder of how Celtic got into this season's tournament when Artur Boruc went to fight with his captain Stephen McManus and had to be dissuaded by Gary Caldwell.
This was a re-run of the keeper squaring up to Lee Naylor when Celtic beat Spartak Moscow in the final qualifying round.
The Pole was the misguided aggressor on Saturday. His kickout to Andrius Velicka could have cost Celtic a needless goal, which was all McManus pointed out. But Boruc was terrific on other occasions, as he was when he saved the penalty that won Celtic the sudden death shootout against the Russians.
You need to take the occasional bouts of eccentricity to get the genius that comes with it from the keeper.
Strachan said: "We feel all right about ourselves. Our crowd knew this was an important game and you could tell that by the reaction when we arrived at the ground in the team coach and the noise when we went out on the park for the kick-off."
Even the fans got in on the identity theft scam. The people who'd started to drop off in numbers were back in their seats and they got a game to make them sit up and pay attention instead of being left motionless and unmoved by what they were watching.
It was a also day for audience participation. The Celtic fans could berate their Edinburgh rivals and turn up the decibel level with each passing goal or ejection from the Hearts end.
Steven Frail was only able to bemoan the suspect defending that cost his side dearly.
He said: "The first goal could have been prevented by two of our players before it got to Vennegoor of Hesselink.
"The second was a header from the smallest player on the park and the third was an irrelevance by the time it arrived.
"We had a real chance to equalise when Andrew was put through one on one with the keeper but we missed and Celtic ran up to the other end of the park and made it 2-0. Then it became a real struggle for us."
Frail's job is about sustaining the fans' interest from now until the end of the season.
Strachan has the altogether more difficult task of keeping Celtic in the title race, winning the Scottish Cup and putting Barcelona out of the Champions League.
The manager will need to do that without Brown, who will serve a one-match ban on Wednesday, and Hinkel.
Once again an unfair level of pressure will be placed on the shoulders of 21-year-old McGeady to mesmerise Barca and lay down the basis of what would still have to be thought of as an unlikely victory over the last side to win a Champions League tie at Celtic Park.
But Celtic specialise in making prophets of doom redundant in that event, so it's probably best to say nothing and prepare to be amazed.
Incidentally, Burnley manager Owen Coyle was in the main stand, having had a long-standing interest in trying to coax Celtic into selling him Derek Riordan.
The former Hibs player couldn't even make a squad of 18 and that sums up a person who has disappeared off the radar at the club who employ him.
Three of the transfer window signings - Georgios Samaras, Barry Robson and Ben Hutchinson, came on and looked the part in their individual ways. But for every beneficiary of the window there's a victim and Riordan would appear to be it.
Predictably, the crowd who used to boo Strachan when he took off Riordan were unaffected by his non-appearance.
They've now got too much to excite them in the present day to concern themselves with the past.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Scott Brown (Celtic)
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