London Hearts Supporters Club

Report Index--> 2004-05--> All for 20041226
<-Page <-Team Sun 26 Dec 2004 Hearts 0 Celtic 2 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Guardian ------ Report Type-> Srce->
John Robertson <-auth Graham Clark auth-> Mike McCurry
[A McGeady 9] ;[S Petrov 68]
5 of 010 ----- L SPL H

Petrov blast makes Hearts sink

Graham Clark at Tynecastle
Monday December 27, 2004
The Guardian

Celtic brushed aside a feeble Hearts challenge to leave Rangers, who face Motherwell today, looking once again at a four-point gap at the top of the Premierleague.

Normally this is a fixture that is as fraught as any for Martin O'Neill's side but this time it was almost effortlessly easy although it was a desperately poor match that was won by the two rare moments of skill.

The first came after only nine minutes when Stilian Petrov's deep cross seemed too long even for Aiden McGeady lurking way beyond the back post, but the talented youngster somehow contrived to score when everyone expected a cutback at best.

The second, ah hour later, followed a Steven Pressley foul on Chris Sutton that earned the Hearts captain a booking. Ulrik Laursen took the free-kick and a fine knockdown by Sutton was explosively finished by Petrov.

Otherwise it was all hustle, muscle and bustle and for that there is no team better equipped than the visitors.

John Hartson and Sutton continually unnerved Pressley and Kevin McKenna in the middle of the Hearts defence and the big Welshman should have confirmed victory much earlier but squandered two outstanding chances and then two more arguably easier ones in the final minutes when it was effectively all over.

Petrov, too, was wasteful twice as time and time again Celtic created and missed excellent opportunities, although the Bulgarian at least made amends for his earlier efforts with his searing drive for the second goal.

All the while Hearts struggled to cope. Any time Mark de Vries looked like threatening at the other end he lacked support and the one decent effort they had through Jamie McAllister was well held by Rab Douglas, a late replacement for Magnus Hedman, who was ill.

"We could have scored more and we can't often say that here so it was a terrific effort," O'Neill said.

The Celtic manager was less enthusiastic about the treatment McGeady received from the home supporters, who showed their displeasure at his decision to represent the Republic of Ireland rather than Scotland.

But the youngster insisted: "I don't take it to heart. I'm sure it's all down to my choice of country and I never thought about that before I made my decision but I'll get used to it and I'll deal with it."

Hearts, meanwhile, have more pressing matters to attend to with 14 players out of contract in the summer.

That means clubs can move for the likes of Alan Maybury, Pressley, De Vries and others imminently and with the club itself in a state of flux as ownership changes there are no serious moves to sort these players out with new deals.

"That is now having an effect," admitted the manager John Robertson. "Some players seem distracted and we need to know what is happening soon."

Hearts had De Vries booked for diving although the referee Michael McCurry admitted he would apologise if television pictures proved he had erred.

Man of the match: Stilian Petrov (Celtic)

Taken from the Guardian/Observer

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