Daniel Stendel’s Hearts side eventually succumbed to defeat in his second game in charge, suffering a 2-0 Celtic loss.
Hearts came into this clash joint-bottom and with just two wins since March at Tynecastle. A promising opening 20 minutes showed potential but eventually the home side were broken down.
Ryan Christie’s low strike gave Celtic a lead with virtually their first shot on target before Olivier Ntcham all but ended things. A rush of Hoops attacks followed as Joel Pereira did his best to keep the scoring down.
Here are three things we learned.
Early Jambos pressure counts for nothing
In the first 25 minute Celtic weren’t allowed to get on the ball. Hearts’ high tempo pressing wasn’t allowing them time to settle and Stendel’s side were able to ruffle their feathers a bit.
The problem was that not many opportunities were being created by the home side. Oliver Bozanic had one but that was it. That allowed Celtic to remain favourites and once they got ahead there was only one outcome.
25 minutes in and everything was positive for Hearts but it all unraveled in the end, although that spell is a positive for them.
Hearts’ Mr Versatile
Michael Smith has long been one of the Jambos’ most reliable players and showed his versatility against the Hoops. Usually deployed at right-back and sometimes centre-back, midfield is where Stendel opted to play the Northern Irishman.
As always the experienced Jambo did his best against formidable opposition. Whilst out of position, Smith was still fairly reliable in the engine room.
First goal ends the game
Hearts were well in this game- that is until Celtic’s first goal. Once that went in, all of the belief Stendel’s men had built up in the first 25 minutes had gone. It was a bit of an onslaught in the end.
Whilst the game was scrappy initially, the opposition weren’t being allowed to create chances. That first strike downed their belief and confidence, allowing Celtic to dismantle them.
It was clear that confidence was low in Gorgie heading into this game but the reaction to the first goal in this clash really highlighted that