First team

Match Report: Celtic 3-0 Hearts

04 May 2024

A first half double from Kyogo and a late Matt O’Riley penalty saw Hearts fall to defeat at Parkhead on Saturday afternoon.


Steven Naismith named an unchanged 11 for the trip to Glasgow’s east end, following last weekend’s stalemate at Rugby Park.


For most visiting sides heading to Celtic Park, chances are few and far between, but the men in maroon spurned an opening inside just 60 seconds.


It was good play from Kenneth Vargas, to pick out Dexter Lembikisa. The marauding wingback managed to get to the byline and cut the ball back for Lawrence Shankland. His left-foot shot looked destined for the back of the net, but it was an excellent stop from Cameron Carter-Vickers, to deflect his shot away from goal and behind for a corner.


The Jambos were punished for that missed opportunity just three minutes later, as Celtic opened the scoring from a corner of their own. It was initially a good punch from Zander Clark, but when Reo Hatate returned the ball with a lofted cross, Kyogo was on hand to head home the opening goal.


Hearts didn’t let that early setback phase them and they were inches away from drawing level on the 10-minute mark. Shankland again was able to pick up a dangerous pocket of space, before turning and charging at the Celtic backline. He laid the ball into the path of Cammy Devlin, who’s powerful volley was excellently saved by Joe Hart.


Celtic doubled their lead on 21 minutes. Kyogo timed his run well, in between Frankie Kent and Kye Rowles, before slotting home past Clark.


The men in maroon continued to create chances and again came close just before the half hour mark. Again, it came from positive play from Lembikisa and after his cross found Devlin, it was an excellent block from a green and white shirt to deny his shot from point-blank range.


From the resulting corner, Hearts came close again. Stephen Kingsley rose highest at the back post, but he could only head Alex Cochrane’s corner wide.


Clark hadn’t had a lot to do for the majority of the first 45, but he came up with three good stops from distance in the final minutes of the half. Firstly, holding Greg Taylor’s long-range effort, before beating away Reo Hatate’s volley from the edge of the box. The best of the bunch came in the final minute of normal time, clawing away Kyogo’s effort, after patient build-up play from the home side.


Half-time: Celtic 2-0 Hearts


After coming on strong towards the end of the half, the home side were quick out the traps after the break with Clark once again being called into action to keep Celtic out on the hour mark.


The league leaders had started to dominate possession with Hearts looking to hit on the break. The introduction of Yutaro Oda provided fresh impetus in attack and the Japense winger almost halved the deficit 16 minutes from time.


He picked the pocket of Greg Taylor and drove forward before testing Joe Hart from inside the penalty box.


Celtic added a third from the penalty spot on 87 minutes. Shankland was penalised for handball and Matt O’Riley sent the ball high into the net to round off the scoring.


Celtic: Hart, Johnston, Taylor, Scales, Kyogo (Idah, 72), Kühn (Maeda, 72), Carter-Vickers, O’Riley, Hatate (Iwata, 71), McGregor (Bernardo, 88), Forrest (Palma, 83)


Subs: Bain, Palma, Idah, Yang, Nawrocki, Iwata, Bernardo, Maeda, Ralston


Hearts: Clark, Kent, Kingsley (Oda, 72), Baningime, Grant (Fraser, 62), Shankland ©, Devlin (McKay, 72), Rowles, Cochrane, Vargas (Tagawa, 82), Lembikisa (Atkinson, 62)


Subs: Gordon, Oda, Atkinson, Forrest, McKay, Sibbick, Denholm, Fraser, Tagawa