A Hearts Under-20s team, showing two changes from Tuesday’s win over Ross County, lost 2-0 to a strong Celtic side at a cold and breezy Lennoxtown yesterday afternoon.
Liam Gordon and Callum Tapping replaced Jack Simpson and Aaron Scott in the starting line-up, with new signing Paul McCallum also given 80 minutes game-time.
Celtic dominated the opening 20 minutes in which Mark Ridgers had a fine save, but Hearts clawed themselves back into the game, with Angus Beith coming close with a free-kick.
Celtic took the lead on 28 minutes, Holmbert Fridjonsson losing his marker in heading home a Patrick Twardzik cross.
On 44 minutes Hearts’ task was made more difficult when Robbie Buchanan was sent off for a deliberate kick on Connor McManus. Buchanan deserved to be given his marching orders, but Celtic’s John Herron was lucky not to join him for causing a melee, pushing and swinging arms at a few Hearts players.
The ten men did very well in the second half, restricting Celtic to few clear-cut chances, and Hearts’ Gary Oliver coming close with a shot just over the top following a mazy run.
However, on 80 minutes Celtic tied up the points, with Liam Henderson chipping a shot over Ridgers and into the net.
Hearts: Ridgers, L Smith, McGhee, Gordon, Ford, Buchanan, Tapping, Beith, B King, Oliver, McCallum (Simpson 78). Unused subs: Sneddon, A Scott, K Wilson, Craigie, Daniel.