Celtic v Hearts: Preview and team news

Hearts travel to Celtic feeling quietly confident ahead of one of the most difficult assignments in Scottish football.

By Barry Anderson
Wednesday, 1st December 2021, 4:22 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st December 2021, 4:39 pm

The Edinburgh club have not managed a win in the league at Parkhead for 14 years but know that victory in Glasgow will push them above Celtic in the Premiership table.

Climbing to second place at this stage of the campaign would further underline the progress Hearts have made since manager Robbie Neilson returned to the club in June 2020.

Celtic, though, are in impressive form. They have won eight of their last nine Premiership fixtures as they gain momentum under Ange Postecoglou. They also need the points to keep pace with league leaders Rangers so there is no shortage of motivation in the home camp.

Celtic beat Hearts 3-2 last time the teams met.

Where and when

The Premiership fixture takes place on Thursday, December 2, at Celtic Park, with kick-off at 7.45pm.

Head to head

Hearts beat Celtic 2-1 at Tynecastle on the opening weekend of the Premiership season, but their record at Parkhead is dire. They haven’t won away to Celtic in the league since 2007 and have garnered only three points from 23 visits in the intervening 14 years. There have been 23 defeats in that period.

Team news

Beni Baningime is out for Hearts through injury, but Celtic are expected to be boosted with Nir Bitton and Tom Rogic both available again. Carl Starfelt and Greg Taylor are progressing in their recovery from injuries but are not likely to be involved against Hearts.

Possible line-ups

Celtic: Hart; Ralston, Carter-Vickers, Welsh, Juranovic; Turnbull, McCarthy, McGregor; Abada, Kyogo, Jota.

Hearts: Gordon; Souttar, Halkett, Kingsley; Smith, Devlin, Haring, Cochrane; McKay, Boyce, Ginnelly.

Referee

Bobby Madden will take charge of this affair.

What the managers said

Ange Postecoglou: “I think my players are just looking forward to a game at Celtic Park, playing our football and winning. Statement games are at the back end of the season. Let’s just keep our pistols in our holsters for a little while. We are just going to play each game as we have so far. I have said a few times, you can get distracted by so many shiny objects everywhere.”

Robbie Neilson: “There are ways you can go there and play. Some teams will go and have a go; some will sit in and hope for the best. We want to be a team that has a go. I always have the belief that you need to go to these places to try and win it, or you can sit there and get beat, because they will always get their good players into good areas.”

TV watch

The match will be shown live on both Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Football, with coverage beginning at 7pm. Subscribers can stream the game via the Sky Go app. Non-subscribers can purchase a one-off day pass via Now TV for £9.99.

What the bookies say

Celtic are priced at 4/11 to win, with Hearts at around 8/1 to end their long wait for a league win at Parkhead. The draw is 15/4.

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