Celtic 1-1 Hearts

Last updated : 15 October 2005 By Kevin Smith
All week, today's match was billed as game of the season so far. And for entertainment value, he top of the table clash between Celtic and Hearts did not disappoint. However, it'll be Hearts fans who leave Celtic Park the happiest, with the game ending in a 1-1 draw.

Craig Beattie's deflected shot on 13 minutes gave Celtic the lead, but The Bhoys threw it away only two minutes later, when a mix-up between Paul Telfer and Artur Boruc gifted Skacel with the equaliser.

A draw was probably a fair result overall, but Celtic had plenty of chances to win the match and at the end of the day, only a stupid defensive mistake has cost us two points.

Today's game, for me, confirmed that Hearts mean business. They have now taken four out of a possible six points off of the Old Firm and showed today that they are a decent side indeed. Their defence is very solid and they are a well organised outfit, it will take a good team to beat them this year.

Gordon Strachan's team selection certainly raised a few eyebrows. John Hartson was left out of the starting line-up and Chris Sutton was pushed forward to partner Craig Beattie up-front. Neil Lennon returned, as did Alan Thompson, so there was no place for Shaun Maloney, who dropped to the bench.

Hearts started brightly and after Paul Hartley came close early on, Celtic were lucky that the break of the ball did not benefit Hearts after a couple of stramashes inside the Celtic box.

From early on it was clear that Hearts were out to get a draw, and every time a Celtic player went near an opponent, they would fall down.  Unfortunatley, Dougie MacDonald never got wise to this and gave Hearts just about everything.

On 13 minutes, Celtic took the lead. Shunsuke Nakamura passed a great ball to Neil Lennon who headed across to Craig Beattie. Beattie had time to control the awkward ball and after taking a touch, his shot was deflected over the Hearts goalkeeper and into the net.

Celtic's tails were now and truly up and Bobo Balde came close to adding another a minute later, when Bobo Balde's header rebounded back off the post.

Hearts looked for a quick equaliser, and they were gifted it on 15 minutes, by Paul Telfer and Artur Boruc. Telfer's short back-pass to Boruc left the goalkeeper panicking and Skacel nicked in between the two to score into the empty net.

If Boruc has shouted for the ball he should be going through anyone in his path to clear it. Telfer should have taken the safe option and blasted it out of the park when he realised Boruc would struggle to reach it. Another stupid goal given away by Celtic.

Celtic looked stunned and alot of sting was now taken out of their play. Stan Petrov came close with a drive from outside the area and Alan Thompson also came close for Celtic. In between times, Hearts' striker Jankauskas missed a decent opportunity to put the visitors ahead.

In the second half, Paul Telfer came close with a long range drive, which was well saved by the Hearts goalkeeper.  There were not many chances and for long spells of the match it was a hard fought battle with not much exciting action.

Shaun Maloney replaced Alan Thompson just after the hour mark and the youngster made an immediate impact with his free kick from the edge of the box again well saved by Banks in the Hearts goal.

John Hartson was brought on, replacing Neil Lennon, and he too could have got off to a dream start.  He should have done better with a header from only yards out; this was only minutes after Chris Sutton missed the best chance of the game, again from a header.

It was now clear that it wasn't going to be our day, and, although it is not the end of the world, it's still disappointing to be dropping points at home.

Alan Thompson has done nothing to merit a place in the side in front on Shaun Maloney and he should never have started the game.  Maloney's impact was there for all to see when he came on and hopefully Thompson won't be playing at Kilmarnock next week.

Today also showed up Paul Telfer and Mo Camara, who got found out against a half decent side. 

Our passing was not as good as it has been recently, but as I said, it's not the end of the world and we shall bounce back next week at Rugby Park.  There is a long way to go yet.

Come On The Hoops Man Of The Match:  Craig Beattie