Hearts 0-1 Celtic

Last updated : 19 January 2004 By Kevin Smith
Celtic made sure the gap at the top of the SPL remains at 11 points, with a hard fought 1-0 victory over Hearts, at Tynecastle today. Stan Petrov netted the only goal of the game, on 27 minutes.

As usual, it was a fiery atmosphere inside Tynecastle with the huns in disguise out in force, but the gaps in the Hearts' sections were there for all to see. It really is quite laughable that the Hearts fans are complaining about moving to Murrayfield when they can't even fill a small stadium like Tynecastle.

Stephen Pearson made his first start in the Hoops, taking the place of injured Alan Thompson.

Hearts started the game in a hurried pace, and overweight midfielder Phil Stamp almost put them in front but Rab Douglas done well to stop the fumble.

A minute later, John Hartson was booked for what appeared to be a barge into Andy Webster, Big John was yellow carded for the off the ball incident.

As Rab Douglas went to take a free-kick close to the monkies in the Hearts main stand, he was struck with a coin. Credit to Big Rab for not reacting to the provocation, but questions must be asked of this sub-human element of the Hearts support. A man has been arrested in connection with the coin thrown.

Celtic were certainly going for it today, John Hartson came close at the end of a neat move which the Welshman should have done better with.

Henrik Larsson's runs were confusing the Hearts defence, and the far side linesman judged the King offside when he was clearly a yard on, and on his way to goal.

Justice was sone a minute later though, when Larsson fed Stan Petrov who blasted the ball through the legs of impressive Hearts goalkeeper Gordon.

Larsson should have done better when one on one with the goalkeeper, but Gordon made a decent.

In the second period, both teams had chance to score. Mark de Vries came closest for Hearts, while Stan Petrov should have doubled Celtic's lead.

Celtic were also denied three penalty shouts in the second half, onoe of hich was a stonewaller.

Celts survived a late flurry of attempted pressure from Hearts and held on for the victory. Today was one of our hardest league games of the season and the win just about quietens anybody who thinks we will slip up in the title race. Hearts tried to kick us off the park but failed, onwards to Pittodrie!

Douglas - 8
Varga - 9
Balde - 8
McNamara - 7
Agathe - 8
Lennon - 7
Petrov - 9
Sutton - 9
Pearson - 7
Hartson - 6 (Beattie - 6)
Larsson - 7

Celtic-Mad Man of the Match: Stan Petrov