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Match Report
Celtic vs Hearts
 1 - 1 
Date: 
13/12/2008
Venue: 
Celtic Park
Attendance: 
56,079
Referee: 
Charlie Richmond
 
Match Report

Celtic hold Hearts to score draw
From Hearts News at Celtic Park

Hearts led for 56 minutes at Parkhead through Andrew Driver's first half goal before Stephen McManus popped up to equalise for Celtic and ensure one point remained at Parkhead.

The Jambos continued their unbeaten run in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League after an emphatic first half display at the home of the Champions and head back to Edinburgh satisfied with their point.

Hearts made two changes to the side that beat Rangers at Tynecastle two weeks ago. The suspended Lee Wallace was replaced by Jonsson and Jamie McDonald made way for Janos Balogh, who returned to the Hearts goal. Michael Stewart missed out due to illness.

The game got off to a rather flat start and Hearts seemed content to play the waiting game and build form the back as they looked to test the champions on their home turf. The first 15 minutes passed by without much to talk about. Marius Zaliukas had Hearts' first effort on goal with a zipping shot just on the edge of the area but it didn't test Boruc.

22 minutes in though and Hearts took the lead after a great piece of build up play. Larry Kingston's excellent close control of the ball opened up a shooting opportunity whilst the Ghana man seemed to misshit his effort the ball bobbled its way to Andrew Driver. The Englishman took his time and then thundered his shot past Boruc. Driver raced to the dugout to celebrate with his manager.

Hearts looked keen to build on their lead and Nade came close to doubling it only a few minutes after the opener. It was Driver again though who got the better of the Celtic defence on 34 minutes and made a blistering run down the left hand side, there was no passing option so Driver went it alone and forced a great save from Boruc in the Celtic goal.

Most of Celtic's play came from Nakamura and McGeady on the wings, however Jonsson and Neilson stood up well to the challenge and Balogh didn't have a save to make.

Hearts threw everything at Celtic in a bid to capitalise on their superior possession and not to mention, five first half corners. However the Jambos could not grab that second and went in one nil to the good at half time.

Celtic came out with a renewed sense of vigour at the start of the second half which was to be expected after their lacklustre performance in the first half. Hearts however seemed to adapt their play well and despite facing increased pressure at the times, when they got the ball they used it well, they just needed to get that second goal.

The Hearts back line had a lot more to do in the second period and Celtic were taking a more direct route by bringing Samaras and McDonald into the play more. Balogh again though was not troubled and made his first save of the match from Lee Naylor in the 72nd minute.

Celtic continued to pile the pressure on Hearts in the final third and got the reward on 78 minutes when McManus nodded the ball home from a few yards out to level the score after Samaras won the header at the back post.

Despite throwing the kitchen sink at Hearts, the men in all maroon held firm and resolute and so the unbeaten run continues...

Celtic: Boruc; Hinkel, Caldwell, McManus, Wilson; Nakamura, Brown, Hartley, McGeady; McDonald, Maloney. Subs not used: Naylor, Samaras, Crosas, Brown, Sheridan, O'Dea.

Hearts: Balogh; Neilson, Zaliukas, Berra, Jonsson; Kingston (Obua 60), Karipidis, Palazuelos, Driver; Aguiar (Cesnauskis 64); Nade (Mole 90). Subs not used: MacDonald, Makela, Thomson, Rapnik.

Referee: Charlie Richmond

Top man: Christophe Berra

Join Lawrence Broadie, Mark Donaldson and Gary Mackay LIVE on air from 2.45pm at Celtic Park.

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