Glasgow Celtic 3 Heart Of Midlothian 0

By Footymad Previewer
Last updated : 18 October 2004

Celtic cruised to yet another comfortable victory without really having to break sweat against a Hearts side with limited ambitions.

A goal from Henri Camara in the first half was added to by Juninho and John Hartson in the second, with the Brazilian celebrating his first goal for the Bhoys.

Jambos boss Craig Levein departed at half-time to catch a flight to watch UEFA Cup opponents Feyenoord in action and some of his team must have wished they could have joined him, as Celtic stroked the ball about with Hearts unable to do anything to turn the tide.

For Celtic it was a straightforward three points in the defence of their title and a gentle warm-up for what will surely be a tougher test against Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

Celtic were slow to get going in the opening minutes with Hartson's header being cleared from Juninhho's feet at the expense of a corner there only early chance.

Steven Pressley timed a tackle to perfection when Camara beat the offside trap, before he became the first player booked for a late tackle on the Celtic striker.

Hearts showed little ambition with Graham Weir operating as a lone striker and he wasted his best chance when failed to control a backpass into the penalty box.

The home team thought they had taken the lead after 19 minutes when Camara headed home Stilian Petrov's free-kick but the striker was offside.

Hearts mounted a rare attack when Alan Maybury strode by two opponents before finding Paul Hartley whose shot from 18 yards was turned behind by David Marshall.

Though the Celtic keeper then flapped at Hartley's corner, Chris Sutton was on hand to clear the danger.

The atmosphere for once was very quiet at Celtic Park with manager Martin O'Neill having to exhort the crowd to get behind his team.

Maybury was booked for a crude challenge on Didier Agathe before Petrov flashed a long-range effort wide, which amazingly was their first real effort after 30 minutes of play.

Celtic went close to taking the lead when Agathe's cut back was cleverly dummied by Camara before Hartson's shot on the turn was well saved by Craig Gordon.

The home side's breakthrough was not long delayed. From Sutton's cross Robbie Neilson appeared to play Hartson on side and, from his knock down, Camara lashed the ball high into the roof of the net from six yards.

Hearts nearly fell another goal behind when Pressley gifted possession to Ross Wallace but though his 30-yard shot was fumbled by Gordon, Camara was adjudged offside as he followed up.

The visitors had Kevin McKenna on for Weir after the break but it was the home side who were denied a second goal when Petrov was ruled offside from Hartson's pass.

Celtic appeared to put the match beyond Hearts when Juninho slid the ball home from ten yards after a neat exchange of passes with Hartson on the edge of the box.

Hearts responded by sending Dennis Wyness on for Michael Stewart to join McKenna up front. A long-range effort by Jamie McAllister was just too high as Hearts enjoyed their best spell of the game.

The visitors were thrown a lifeline when the assistant referee flagged for a penalty after Phil Stamp's cross struck Jackie McNamara's arm. It looked a soft award but Celtic were relieved when Pressley's spot-kick hit the outside of the post on its way past.

Celtic replied with a scramble in front of the Hearts goal which ended in Hartson's header hitting the bar after Gordon had made two great blocks.

Marshall made another good save to deny McKenna before Celtic went three ahead.

Gordon did well to save from Juninho before Wallace's cross was met by Hartson at the back post and the Welshman bulleted his header into the top corner.

Heart of Midlothian Match Reports

Scottish Premiership Sat 14th October 15:00

Ross County 1 - 2 Hearts

Last game - Match Centre


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