Hearts debrief: Beni Baningime's impact, Liam Boyce's penalties, 4-4-2 switch

A look back at the cinch Premiership encounter at Tynecastle as Hearts were defeated 2-1 by Celtic.

By Craig Fowler
Thursday, 27th January 2022, 7:00 am

Player of the match

Among the starting XI, John Souttar or Craig Halkett should probably take this honour. The pair were robust and dependable as Celtic bombarded the Hearts box for the best part of an hour. However, it was second-half substitutes Ellis Simms and Beni Baningime who made the biggest impact. Simms was a pest who disrupted the Celtic defence and allowed Hearts to make the ball stick, while Baningime provided a much-needed foothold in the centre of the park. The latter shades this award.

Defining moment

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Beni Baningime returned from injury as a second-half substitute at Tynecastle. Picture: SNS

It’s got to be Liam Boyce’s penalty miss. The striker was quite unlucky, seeing his shot come off the inside of the post, roll along the line and curl out for a goal kick. But in a season where he’s had more than his fair share of chances from 12 yards, he hasn’t been the most reliable of takers.

Ref watch

The Wheatfield-side assistant referee didn’t appear to have the best of evenings as both Giorgos Giakoumakis and Boyce looked offside prior to their goals, though the latter may have just been narrowly played on by the trailing leg of Cameron Carter-Vickers. In the centre, John Beaton got the penalty call right and most of his bookings were fair, with perhaps the exception of Cammy Devlin who seemed to get a yellow for angry Celtic players confronting him.

Benefit of hindsight

If Hearts were to go 4-4-2, which they did for most of the game, then perhaps Ellis Simms should have been on from the start. They couldn’t get their passing game established against Celtic in the first half and going back to front didn’t work without the necessary size in attack. Once Simms came on they were able to get it forward quicker, which allowed them to press, squeeze the game higher and up the tempo.

Moment you may have missed

After winning a 50-50 challenge and coming out with possession for his side, substitute Andy Halliday screamed in celebration in the direction of Celtic sub James McCarthy.

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