London Hearts Supporters Club

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<-Page <-Team Sun 10 Apr 2005 Celtic 2 Hearts 1 Team-> Page->
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John Robertson <-auth None auth-> Stuart Dougal
[C Sutton 3] ;[C Bellamy 49]
1 of 006 Deividas Cesnauskis 60 SC N

Hearts 1 - 2 Celtic


CRAIG BELLAMY fired Celtic to the Scottish Cup final and claimed: I couldn't be happier.

The on-loan striker, frozen out of Newcastle after accusing boss Graeme Souness of lying, helped Martin O'Neill's men avenge Hearts' shock league win last week.

Chris Sutton headed Celtic's early opener and Bellamy lashed the second just after the break, although substitute Deividas Cesnauskis sparked a fine comeback by lobbing Hearts back into it.

Bellamy said: "I've definitely been inspired, but when you come to a club like Celtic it's hard not to be inspired.

"It's such a great club and I'm just really happy to be playing football. I'm playing the position I love playing, I'm playing with players I love being with day in, day out and I'm really happy at the moment."

Now Bellamy wants to repeat his treble against Dundee United last month in the final - as part of a league and cup double.

He said: "It would be nice to get another hat-trick against them. All credit to Dundee United, they are fighting relegation and when we won 3-2 it was a tough game for us.

"It's going to be a tough final but, with the players we have, hopefully we will have a league title and cup final to celebrate."

Celtic boss O'Neill was keen to praise Bellamy's strikepartner Sutton for his sparkling return after a hamstring injury.

O'Neill said: "He is a special player and he has been absolutely fantastic for us.

"He is a big, big player and when you have your big players playing for you, you have a better chance of winning."

But Hearts head coach John Robertson insisted his side's revival put the frighteners on Celtic.

He said: "Towards the end we were pushing for it, there's no doubt about it.

"We started the believe in ourselves, got a terrific goal through Deividas and got our composure back.

"We caused them a few scares in the end but I think Celtic just did enough to go through."

Hearts chief executive Phil Anderton apologised after booing and jeering from some of his club's fans forced referee Stuart Dougal to end a minute's silence for Pope John Paul II after just 24 seconds.

Anderton said: "The club could not and would not condone the actions of those who chose to undermine the tribute to Pope John Paul II before the semi-final.

"Scottish football chose to join with people around the world to observe and respect the minute of silence and it is disturbing that some Hearts fans failed to see the significance of this occasion. There is no room for that sort of behaviour in the game.

"We are trying to generate an atmosphere where families are happy to return to football grounds around the country and the fact their actions will have been covered live by Sky across the UK and beyond will have done those ambitions no favours at all.

"The club appealed on Friday for all fans travelling to the game to respect the minute of silence and will write to both Celtic and the SFA to apologise on behalf of those who failed to adhere to that request."

O'Neill said of the booing: "It wasn't very clever, was it?"

But opposite number Robertson responded: "Football's my religion.

"It is always going to be a tough one and I don't think the minute's silence was observed in yesterday's first semi-final.

"It was always going to be a difficult one today. People did observe it and they deserve credit.

"But people have different beliefs and my religion is football and that's all I'm concerned about."

Only the Celtic fans observing the tribute fully at Hampden over the weekend - and only Celtic looked up for the semi-final early on.

O'Neill had brought in Sutton for Aiden McGeady, with Joos Valgaeren replacing Stephane Henchoz.

Hearts manager John Robertson preferred Paul Hartley to Marius Kizys.

The ball almost fell kindly for Celtic hitman John Hartson in the area after just one minute, but his shot hit a Hearts player to take the sting out of the ball and Craig Gordon made a comfortable save.

The Celtic supporters were celebrating in the third minute when Sutton gave them a dream start with the opener.

Alan Thompson tapped a corner to Stilian Petrov to swing an inviting left-foot cross just inside the six-yard box.
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And the Englishman got between Steven Pressley and Andy Webster and more importantly in front of Gordon to head into the roof of the net.

The Hearts fans goaded Craig Bellamy with chants of "Souness" in reference to his bust up with the Newcastle United manager.

The Hearts boss then flicked the ball away from Valgaeren as he bent down on the touchline before taking a throw-in.

Hearts looked dangerous on the break with Hartley's bursts forward and after good work by him and former Celt Mark Burchill in the 20th minute the ball broke to Joe Hamill on the edge of the area but Valgaeren was brave to block his effort.

Bellamy almost punished Webster for failing to deal with a back pass and Bellamy stole the ball with Gordon out of his goal,

He put in his Welsh international team-mate Hartson, inside the area, but he swung wildly and missed the ball completely.

Marshall had very little to do in the first half as Hearts struggled to get last week's scoring heroes Burchill and Lee Miller into the game.

Hartson came within inches of extending Celtic's lead on the stroke of half-time when he got within a whisker of Neil Lennon's cross after persistence from Petrov.

Robertson changed things at the break and introduced Cesnauskis for Robbie Neilson, who was injured early on.

But Hearts found themselves further behind after more poor play in their defence in the 49th minute.

Hartson failed to control Stanislav Varga's punt down field but Celtic target Hartley clumsily knocked the ball to Bellamy, who swivelled and forced his shot past Gordon from 12 yards.

The Hoops threatened to kill the game off moments later as Gordon took Thompson's cross off the head of Hartson and Varga somehow failed to turn the ball in on the goal-line.

Gordon stood up well to save Thompson's left-foot flick in the 54th minute but Hearts seemed to be dead and buried.

At the other end the ball almost broke to Burchill in the box but Jackie McNamara reacted quickly to clear the danger before Robertson brought Kizys on for Hammil.

But Cesnauskis hauled the underdogs back into the match on the hour when he got behind the Celtic defence to lob the ball over Marshall, who had come off his line.

Sutton could have restored the two-goal advantage in a pulsating second half after being picked out by Bellamy close to the penalty spot but he pulled his effort well over.

O'Neill brought on McGeady for Hartson in the 72nd minute before Robertson replaced Neil MacFarlane with Dennis Wyness.

Hearts pushed Celtic back and McNamara needed to throw himself bravely at Burchill to send his shot behind.

But Bellamy could have killed the game off but somehow failed to find the net from close range, but nothing was going to ruin his and the Glasgow club's big day.

Taken from the Sun

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