London Hearts Supporters Club

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<-Page <-Team Sat 02 Apr 2005 Celtic 0 Hearts 2 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Sporting Life ------ Report Type-> Srce->
John Robertson <-auth None auth-> Hugh Dallas
3 of 010 Lee Miller 8 ;Mark Burchill 19 L SPL A

Celtic 0 Hearts 2

Hearts planted the Bank of Scotland Premier League championship race back in the grateful hands of Rangers after snatching a shock victory at Celtic Park.

With one Old Firm game left to go at Ibrox after the split, Alex McLeish's men will have the unexpected opportunity go a point clear at the top with a win at Motherwell on Sunday.

And they had John Robertson's men and, in particular, former Celtic striker Mark Burchill to thank.

Lee Miller headed the Edinburgh outfit into an early lead before setting up Burchill to give them a two-goal advantage at the break.

The home side never recovered from that in a dress rehearsal for next week's Tennent's Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden Park and Robertson, whose future is not absolutely certain under new chief executive Phil Anderton, left Celtic Park with a big smile on his face.

Celtic started confidently but their fans were stunned into silence after just eight minutes when the visitors snatched the lead against the run of play.

David Marshall, back in for injured Robert Douglas for the first time since November 10, did brilliantly to keep out Andy Webster's point-blank header, from Marius Kizys' free-kick, but Miller reacted quicker than the sleeping home defence to head home the rebound.

The Glasgow giants reacted instantly and Hearts had Steven Pressley and Robbie Nielsen booked, the latter for bringing down in-form Craig Bellamy outside the box.

From the resulting free-kick, Aiden McGeady curled an inviting ball into the box but John Hartson headed over from just six yards.

Hearts were let off the hook in the 17th minute when Alan Thompson's dangerous corner was allowed to fly across the face of goal.

Bobo Balde looked surprised to see it arrive and he completely missed a golden chance to pull Celtic back on level terms.

And the home side were emphatically punished three minutes later with Burchill ruthlessly coming back to haunt them.

Miller played a perfectly-weighted ball through to Burchill after a Stephane Henchoz mistake.

Stanislav Varga gave him far too much room and the former Portsmouth striker coolly steered his right-foot shot past Marshall and into the bottom corner.

Hartson had the ball in the net moments later when he headed Thompson's free-kick across Craig Gordon and into the far corner but the linesman had his flag up for offside.

Controversial referee Dallas, who is no stranger to both teams, had his book out again in the 24th minute after booking Neil MacFarlane for pulling back Thompson.

The home side continued to pile on the pressure as Gordon got down well to save Hartson's shot from eight yards and Varga headed Thompson's cross wide from close range.

Bellamy always looked capable of doing something special with his pace but his cross was too powerful in the 34th minute and Hartson could only head over the top.

O'Neill made a change in the 36th minute by bringing on the attacking flair of Ross Wallace for off-the-pace Henchoz.

But it was Bellamy who continued to pose the biggest threat and he fired the ball across the face of goal, four minutes before the interval.

Stilian Petrov attempted to reduce the deficit at half-time but Gordon pushed away his stinging long-range drive.

Wallace should have made it 2-1 in stoppage time after Bellamy had played him clean through but he dragged his shot wide of the post with Gordon well beaten.

Chairman Brian Quinn was jeered by a section of the home crowd at the break following O'Neill's insistence that he needs more money to make a mark in the Champions League.

Celtic were also looking to make life as uncomfortable as possible for Hearts in the second half as they pushed forward in search of goals.

That left big gaps at the back, however, and Burchill could have scored a second in the 50th minute but he pulled his right-foot shot wide from 19 yards.

Celtic were becoming increasingly desperate and Varga chose to let fly with a shot from 30 yards which Gordon comfortably caught and then saved from McGeady.

The Scotland goalkeeper also saved Hartson's header before Robertson brought on Calum Elliot for the injured Burchill.

And Gordon also pulled off a great save to deny the Welshman in the 62nd minute as he acrobatically threw himself in the air to tip another header over.

Hearts continued to produce the heroics in defence as MacFarlane deflected Bellamy's drive behind and then Hartson headed wide at the back post.

Kizys could have killed the game off in the 68th minute but he poked the ball just past the upright from eight yards with Marshall beaten.

Miller could also have wrapped up the points in the 78th minute but completely missed Elliot's ball across the face of goal.

Webster then headed just wide of the far post three minutes later after being picked out at the back by Hamill.

Bellamy could have made it an anxious final five minutes for a jubilant Hearts but he blazed over from eight yards out, summing up Celtic's miserable day.


Celtic Marshall, Henchoz (Wallace 36), Balde, Varga, McNamara, Lennon, Petrov, Thompson, McGeady (Maloney 68), Bellamy, Hartson.

Subs Not Used: Hedman, Sylla, Valgaeren, Fernandez, Lambert.

Hearts Gordon, Neilson, Pressley, Webster, McAllister (Simmons 77), MacFarlane, Kizys (Stewart 72), Hamill, Wallace, Burchill (Elliot 62), Miller.

Subs Not Used: Moilanen, Wyness, Berra, Cesnauskis.

Booked: Pressley, Neilson, MacFarlane.

Goals: Miller 8, Burchill 19.

Att: 59,562

Ref: H Dallas (Scotland).

Taken from

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