First Team

Celtic 2-1 Heart of Midlothian

Sunday 19th May 2019, KO 15:00 | Ladbrokes Premiership | Celtic Park

Match Report

Hearts were edged out 2-1 at Celtic Park in the final game of the 2018/19 Ladbrokes Premiership season.

Despite Mikey Johnston firing Celtic ahead after only two minutes, the Jambos got back on level terms through Jake Mulraney, only to lose out to a late Johnston strike.

Craig Levein made several changes ahead of next week’s showpiece Scottish Cup Final. Starts were handed to Bobby Zlamal, Aaron Hickey, Connor Smith, Andy Irving, Olly Lee and Craig Wighton.

Hearts made a disastrous start, conceding inside the opening two minutes. Johnston played a one-two with Anthony Ralston before getting into the six-yard box and blasting beyond Bobby Zlamal from close range.

The Jambos immediately went up the pitch and went close to equalising. Jake Mulraney exchanged balls with Sean Clare before driving into the box and drilling low, but his shot flew inches wide of Scott Bain’s left-hand post.

Hearts began to settle into the game but it was the hosts who were next to threaten through Olivier Ntcham’s 25-yard piledriver but Clare got enough on his block to send it wide of the target. 

Just before the 20-minute mark it was 1-1. Some calamitous goalkeeping from Bain saw him take too long to pick out his pass, allowing Wighton to block his clearance out to Clare, who rolled into the path of Mulraney and the winger fired into the top corner.

Though chances were then few and far between, it was the Jam Tarts that impressed; passing the ball around freely and constantly putting their hosts under pressure.

Zlamal was called into action moments after the restart after Johnston danced his way to the edge of the box before curling a low effort towards the bottom corner but Zlamal flung himself to his left, pushing the ball around the post.

Substitute Karamoko Dembele had Celtic Park on its feet when he shrugged off a Hickey lunge to dart to the edge of the box but his floated effort failed to find the target.

Celtic were ramping up the pressure, with Johnston forcing his way through the Hearts defence to shoot from point blank range but Zlamal stood firm to make a good block.

The Czech keeper came to the rescue moment later, turning a low Dembele shot around his left-hand post.

With six minutes remaining, Celtic regained the lead. Johnston ran at the heart of the defence and pulled the trigger from 18-yards, pinging a shot off the inside of Zlamal’s right-hand post and back into the opposite corner.

Celtic remained on the front foot, though substitute Jamie Brandon saw an effort from outside of the box saved in the dying moments.

Attentions now turn to next week’s Scottish Cup Final, where the same two teams will do battle for the season’s final piece of silverware.