Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Mulgrew expects Hearts to play key role in title chase

Celtic's Charlie Mulgrew

Charlie Mulgrew will not join the club whose members believe Celtic's 4-0 thrashing of Hearts at Parkhead on Wednesday night ended the Jambos' Clydesdale Bank Premier League title hopes.

Jim Jefferies' third-placed side arrived in Glasgow on the back of an 11-game unbeaten SPL run, looking to close the seven-point gap on the league leaders and hopefully move ahead of second-placed Rangers.

However, they encountered a rampant Celtic side which blew them away with their best performance of the season.

A double by in-form striker Anthony Stokes was supplemented by strikes by James Forrest and his replacement, Paddy McCourt, and with Rangers winning 2-0 at Hibernian, the Old Firm are back firmly in the driving seat.

Hearts are now 10 points off the top albeit having a game in hand over Celtic, and five behind Rangers having played a game more than the Ibrox men.

However, Mulgrew does not believe the Gorgie club can yet be discounted. “I wouldn't say we have put them away,” the former Aberdeen player said.

“You never know and I wouldn't like to rule anyone out. It was another big hurdle for us and we managed to overcome it.

“The boys knew it was a big game and maybe it could be our best performance of the season, I don't know, it's for others to say.

“But we were delighted to get the three points and in the manner we did was great.

“It shows we are up this title challenge and we just have to work hard and take every game as it comes.”

Mulgrew is normally a left-back but was asked to fill in at centre-half in an emergency alongside 20-year-old stopper Thomas Rogne as manager Neil Lennon found himself short of central defenders.

“I played in the centre a lot last year and I have played there before so it was just like any other game.”

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