Match Reports

Celtic 0-0 Hearts

26th September 2015

Hearts battle to gain share of the spoils against Celtic.

 

Brave Hearts battled to a 0-0 draw with Celtic at Celtic Park.

Robbie Neilson’s lads soaked up some intense pressure throughout the match but defended resolutely and were worth a share of the spoils.

The Jambos made four changes from the side that defeated Kilmarnock midweek, with Jamie Walker, Juwon Oshaniwa, Miguel Pallardo and Juanma all drafted in.

A nervy start for Hearts saw Celtic gifted possession in and around the box on more than one occasion, yet it was the men in maroon who had the first chance of the game. Walker’s corner was headed clear by Leigh Griffiths but only as far as Sam Nicholson at the edge of the box but the winger blasted clean over the bar.

Kris Commons tried his luck and went close with a free-kick 25-yards out, curling inches wide of Neil Alexander’s right-hand post.

Commons was in the mix again when Blazej Augustyn’s perfectly timed tackle saw the ball land at his feet eight-yards out, but he could only sidefoot into the arms of Alexander.

Another set piece chance saw Alexander called into action, this time from Griffiths. His spectacular 30-yard drive swerved towards goal but the Hearts ‘keeper did well to scramble across his line and punch the danger clear.

By this point the game was becoming end to end. Osman Sow showed great strength to hold off his marker from Pallardo’s cross and he teed up Juanma inside the box, who lifted his curling effort a mere inch or two over the bar.

The crossbar came to Hearts’ rescue in the 17th minute. Commons’ chipped ball into the box was stabbed down by Griffths for James Forrest to hit a half-volley 18-yards out only to see the ball cannon off the woodwork.

The hosts passed up a golden chance to take the lead after 21 minutes. Forrest jinked past Nicholson and sent Rogic clear, only for him to screw his shot wide of the target under no pressure.

Moments later, Griffiths ballooned a free header over the bar from Emilio Izaguirre’s cross.

Griffiths found himself with another headed chance when Augustyn misjudged a high ball into the box, but despite being completely unmarked eight-yards out he only managed to nod into Alexander’s arms.

Nir Bitton and Griffiths were both denied by the inspired Alexander as the home side began to pile on the pressure. The Jambos soaked it up though, and headed into the break at a stalemate.

Hearts went close with a half chance seven minutes after the restart. Walker chipped a ball to the back door for Igor Rossi to connect with, but he couldn’t steer his header on target.

At the other end Forrest slipped the ball inside for Scott Brown to run onto, he burst forward and pulled the trigger but dragged his effort wide from 20-yards.

Prince Buaben and Gavin Reilly were introduced as Hearts stood firm under some intense Celtic pressure, reducing the hosts to shots from distance.

Arnaud Djoum was brought on with ten minutes to go for his Hearts debut, moments before Bitton had headed wildly over from Izaguirre’s cross.

Celtic continued to press high and with five minutes remaining moved across the face of the box and found Griffiths at the edge, but his curling shot was well held by Alexander.

With seconds left Nicholson broke free and was crudely bundled over by Ambrose who saw red, but Paterson could only hit the wall from the resultant free-kick.

A nailbiting final few minutes, which included an offside goal for Celtic, saw Hearts stand firm and settle for a great point in Glasgow.

Celtic: Gordon, Lustig, Boyata, Ambrose, Izaguirre; Brown, Bitton, Commons, Rogic (Ciftci, 75'), Forrest, Griffiths. Subs: Bailly, Mackay-Steven, Janko, Johansen, Blackett, Tierney.

Hearts: Alexander, Paterson, Augustyn, Rossi, Oshaniwa, Gomis, Pallardo, Nicholson, Walker (Djoum, 79'), Sow (Buaben, 64'), Juanma (Reilly, 76'). Subs: Hamilton, McGhee, Ozturk, Swanson.

Referee: Kevin Clancy

Top man: Igor Rossi