Three things we learned as Hearts push Celtic close at Tynecastle

Celtic survived a strong second-half fightback from Hearts to grind out a 2-1 victory in a pulsating cinch Premiership encounter at Tynecastle.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Ange Postecoglou’s side looked in full control with second-half goals by Hatate and Giakoumakis.

But Liam Boyce pulled one back after the break and the Northern Irishman missed a penalty as the hosts piled on the pressure in search of an equaliser.

Ibrox-bound defender John Souttar returned to Hearts’ starting line-up after missing the Scottish Cup victory over Auchinleck, while Josh Ginnelly was also back in the side.

Nathaniel Atkinson and Andy Halliday dropped to the bench, where they were joined by new striker Ellis Simms, who arrived on loan from Everton shortly before kick-off.

Hearts threatened in the opening minute when Boyce seized on a loose pass from Hatate and laid the ball off to Barrie McKay who curled an effort just over the bar from the edge of the box.

And the substitute was at fault just five minutes after entering the field when his pass into a crowded area was intercepted by Nir Bitton and Hatate surged forward onto the loose ball before firing a superb strike past Gordon from almost 30 yards.

Celtic doubled their lead in the 35th minute when Giakoumakis clipped home a cross from O’Riley at the near post, although replays suggested the Greek striker was marginally offside.

Hearts made a second change at half-time when Simms was introduced for his debut in place of Ginnelly.

The hosts pulled one back in the 62nd minute when Boyce ran on to a pass from McKay and slotted through the legs of Joe Hart from inside the box, although once again replays showed the goalscorer was offside.

With Celtic running out 2-1 winners at Tynecastle, here are 3 things we learned from the game.

Hearts frustration

Celtic were in control of proceedings early on in the game but Hearts grew into the game after the goal by Liam Boyce and got the penalty soon afterwards which the Northern Irishman missed, a lot of positives for the Jambos to take but pure frustration at the same time. Motherwell on Saturday for the Jam Tarts at Tynecastle in what will be another difficult assignment.

Boyce back and firing

That penalty miss, was indeed a massive frustration on both his behalf and Hearts’ as it rued any possible route back into the game but Boyce is back up and running with goals and he will be happy with that personally.

First half the difference

Hearts competed against Celtic like they always do against these sides but found themselves a bit short in the 1st half, massive lessons for Robbie Neilson and co to take from this. 

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Categories: Match ReportScottish Premiership
Tags: CelticHeartsScottish Premiership