Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Football Scottish Celtic

Celtic 3 - 0 Hearts: Bhoys take advantage of error-strewn Hearts in league Cup clash

By Ronnie Esplin

Celtic cruised through to the quarter-finals of the League Cup with a 3-0 win over Hearts at Parkhead although the Championship leaders contributed quite a bit to their own downfall.

Striker John Guidetti opened the scoring in the 23rd minute with his first goal since arriving on loan from Manchester City but it was two contrasting results from the spot in the second-half that turned the tide in Celtic's favour.

Hearts striker Osman Sow blasted his penalty over the bar in the 54th minute after he had been fouled by Celtic defender Virgil van Dijk and two minutes later referee William Collum awarded the home side a penalty when Alim Ozturk fouled Guidetti with Kris Commons slotting home.

Jambos defender Adam Eckersley put through his own net just after the hour mark to compound the visitors' misery.

In the end it was a comfortable win for Ronny Deila's men but the Gorgie side will believe they might have fared better had Sow not failed from the spot.

Deila brought back skipper Scott Brown, Craig Gordon, Commons and Stefan Johansen, while Hearts showed three changes with Prince Buaben, Dale Carrick and Sam Nicholson coming in.

The first clear-cut chance came in the 15th minute when Guidetti got past Ozturk to latch on to a Callum McGregor pass, but the Swede knocked the ball wide.

As Celtic slowly began to take control McGregor set up Commons, but his drive was stopped by Neil Alexander at his near post, before the former Rangers keeper made an even better save from Brown's powerful volley.

However, the home side's pressure eventually paid off when left-back Emilio Izaguirre's cross from the left was cleared by Tynecastle skipper Danny Wilson but only to Guidetti, who quickly rifled it past Alexander from eight yards.

Moments later, a goal line clearance from Eckersley prevented the Hoops striker getting number two.

The Premiership champions were well on top and in the 33rd minute Hearts midfielder Morgaro Gomis almost put Izaguirre's whipped-in cross from the left into his own net, Alexander required to pull off a great save.

Seconds before the interval, however, the home fans had a scare when Hearts midfielder Jamie Walker intercepted Izaguirre's poor pass-back but with only Gordon to beat he crashed his shot off the bar with the Hoops defence eventually clearing.

A crazy two-minute spell early in the second-half sealed the Jambos' fate.

The 1,200 or so Hearts fans thought they were set to draw level from the spot but Sow hammered his penalty high over the bar and then watched in horror moments later when Commons showed him how it should be done, blasting his shot low past Alexander.

When the hapless Eckersley then chested a harmless-looking cross from Stokes past Alexander from six yards out in the 61st minute to make it 3-0, it looked like the Edinburgh men could take a real beating.

With Hearts on the ropes Celtic went looking for more goals

Substitute Aleksandar Tonev, on for McGregor, had the ball in the net in the 78th minute but was ruled offside before the game fizzled out to a conclusion that had been reached much earlier.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph