Celtic 1-0 Heart of Midlothian
Thursday 2nd December 2021, KO 19:45 | cinch Premiership | Celtic Park
Hearts were defeated by Celtic in the cinch Premiership this evening despite a dominating second-half display.
Kyogo Furuhashi’s goal from what appeared to be an offside position proved to be the difference between the sides.
There was a change in shape for the Jambos with a switch to 4-2-3-1. Dropping out went Liam Boyce, Andy Halliday, Gary Mackay-Steven and Beni Baningime, with Josh Ginnelly, Ben Woodburn, Peter Haring and Aaron McEneff coming into the side.
As expected, Hearts had to defend in the early stages of the match with some resolute stopping keeping the hosts at bay, though they could have taken the lead ten minutes in.
Jota cut in from the left flank and curled a shot at goal that was pushed away by Craig Gordon but only as far as James Forrest who somehow could only hit the post from a yard out.
Hearts attempted to play on the counter but it was Gordon to the rescue again just shy of the half hour when a deflected strike from Callum McGregor bounced up and towards the top corner, but the fingertips of Scotland’s number one denied his international teammate.
Hearts had their first sight of goal on 34 minutes when a Stephen Kingsley free kick from the right flank landed at Craig Halkett but his shot was straight at Joe Hart.
Celtic then took the lead in controversial fashion a minute later. Tom Rogic held the ball up on the corner of the box, reversing it for Anthony Ralston, and his driven ball across the area was poked home by Kyogo, who was standing at least half a yard offside when the ball was played in.
Into the second half, and Hearts should have been level just before the hour mark. Barrie McKay whipped in a corner that was met by Kingsley but with the goal gaping he somehow headed wide.
Hearts were very much in the game now and introduced Boyce and Mackay-Steven for Woodburn and McEneff, and Boyce had a huge chance on the break when Haring squared to him in the area but his shot was deflected wide. From the corner, Halkett headed over from the penalty spot.
Hearts were undoubtedly the team in control with Celtic playing on the counter. Josip Juranovic found space in the area on one counter but blasted wildly over.
Celtic had been forced into three subs for injury, and one of those, Mikey Johnston, almost settled things moments after coming on but he curled a shot wide from just inside the area.
Celtic could have put a second away with six minutes remaining when a slack pass saw Kyogo set free, he squared for Forrest but Gordon made a superb save.
At the other end, Hearts nearly levelled with four minutes to go. McKay played in GMS through on goal, he appeared to be tripped in the area before McKay agonisingly fired the ball across goal and wide of target.
In stoppage time, Rogic let fly from the edge of the area and his shot was deflected wide as Hearts pushed for an equaliser that wouldn’t come despite a dominant second half.