London Hearts Supporters Club

Report Index--> 2004-05--> All for 20041016
<-Page <-Team Sat 16 Oct 2004 Celtic 3 Hearts 0 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Times ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Craig Levein <-auth Douglas Alexander auth-> Kenny Clark
[H Camara 41] ;[J Giroldo) 56] ;[J Hartson 82]
5 of 010 ----- L SPL A

Celtic savour Brazilian blend


WHILE many teams travel to Celtic Park and curl into a ball to take their beating, Hearts are less supine. Here, though, their defiance merely provoked more punishment. By the end, Celtic were comfortable in winning 3-0 and gave their manager some tactical food for thought with Wednesday’s Champions League match against Shakhtar Donetsk in mind.
Back in their old 3-4-1-2 guise, Celtic got more from Juninho, including a goal, than they have previously when he has played wider. With Bobo Balde injured, Chris Sutton gave a performance in the middle of the back three that was simultaneously composed and abrasive, and the Englishman was not missed in attack where John Hartson and Henri Camara showed increasing signs of understanding.

If Balde recovers, the most likely player to drop out is Ross Wallace, although the young winger will at least have the consolation of praise from his manager ringing in his ears. “I have got the utmost time for Ross Wallace,” said O’Neill. “I think he’s got a great self-confidence, almost bordering on arrogance, but it is not misplaced.”

When Wallace crossed for Hartson to nod home Celtic’s third with nine minutes left, it was a trifle harsh on Hearts. Their last chance of taking something from the game disappeared with 20 minutes left when Steven Pressley hit the post with a penalty after Jackie McNamara was judged to have handled. Having converted his previous 12 penalties in competitive games it was unlucky 13 for Hearts’ captain, whose two misses in pre-season friendlies proved a more reliable form guide. Kevin McKenna also shot straight at David Marshall when expertly played through by Paul Hartley, a rare case of a consistent creative player, in this spell.

“Elvis is sick,” reported Peter Houston, Hearts’ assistant manager, referring to the miss rather than the bug that kept him out of Scotland’s draw in Moldova. McNamara was also back in the Celtic team after his ankle injury and Berti Vogts would probably have preferred O’Neill and Levein to have given him the defenders rather than words of sympathy.

Levein must hope that Mark de Vries will recover from a poisoned toe in time to reprise his scoring performance in Braga at the De Kuip. The Hearts manager departed at half-time to catch a flight to Holland, where he will watch Feyenoord play at Roda Kerkrade today. His team almost survived until his departure, but not quite.

Their offside trap slid down like a well-oiled guillotine as Camara emphatically headed home a Stilian Petrov free-kick midway through the first half, but it was rusty when the Senegalese did score two minutes before the break. Sutton slanted in a clever diagonal and Robbie Neilson played Hartson onside before the Welshman unselfishly cushioned the ball down and Camara smashed it home. The full-back’s frustration at his sleepy reaction was evident when he harvested Wallace

and became the third member of Hearts’ back four to be booked.

The tousy tone was set when Sutton rumbled through the back of little Graham Weir in the opening minutes with a thudding tackle which, in fairness, took the ball. That did not prevent Alan Maybury, complaining vociferously to Kenny Clark, the referee, about this mismatch at the next break in play.

Hearts camped in, leaving Weir alone up front, and rather than playing their way through this maroon maze, Celtic occasionally went quickly from back to front. Camara almost exposed Pressley’s lack of pace from one Stanislav Varga diagonal, but the defender staged another miraculous recovery. Less impressive was a pointless pull at Camara’s shirt when the striker escaped him near the halfway line that brought a booking.

He was joined by Maybury, when the Irish full-back caught Didier Agathe late, although Hearts could justifiably point out that Varga had gone unpunished for a similar foul on Hartley. Maybury dodged adeptly through midfield in one Hearts sortie and played a clever reverse pass to Hartley who almost surprised Marshall with a shot at his near post. When the goalkeeper flailed at the ensuing corner, Hartson was required to complete his clearance.

Buoyed by his goal, Camara treated Celtic Park to a couple of electric bursts at the start of the second-half before Juninho, the other summer arrival, finally opened his goalscoring account at his new club. It was a goal of simple beauty. The Brazilian imp feeding the ball into Hartson after Michael Stewart had carelessly conceded possession in midfield, then bursting onto the deft return before sidefooting home calmly. He could have had a second when Agathe found him with an excellent pass, but this time his sidefoot hit the side of Craig Gordon’s foot.

No matter, the ball broke to Wallace who picked out Hartson. The Welshman, having created Celtic’s first two goals, now had one to call his own.

STAR MAN: John Hartson (Celtic)

Player ratings. Celtic: Marshall 6, Varga 6, Sutton 7, McNamara 6, Agathe 7, Petrov 6 (McGeady 84min, 5), Lennon 6, Wallace 7, Juninho 7 (Sylla 82min, 5), Hartson 8 (Lambert 82min, 5), Camara 8

Hearts:: Gordon 6, Neilson 5, Pressley 5, Webster 7, Maybury 7, Kisnorbo 5, Stamp 5 (Hamill 84min, 5), Stewart 4 (Wyness 67min, 5), Hartley 7, McAllister 5; Weir 5 (McKenna 46min, 5) Booked: Pressley 18, Maybury 30), Neilson 44

Attendance: 58,869

Referee: K Clark

Taken from

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