Hearts explain injuries to Craig Halkett and Michael Smith against Celtic as Taylor Moore prepares for recall

Robbie Neilson admits Hearts must wait to learn the extent of injuries sustained by defenders Craig Halkett and Michael Smith against Celtic.

Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 10:33 pm
Updated Thursday, 27th January 2022, 2:10 am

Smith went off in the first half of Hearts’ 2-1 defeat with a back spasm, while Halkett departed in the second period with a hamstring issue. “Craig’s hamstring is sore so we’ll see how he is in the morning. It’s just a tight hamstring so we’ll see how it settles down,” said the Tynecastle manager.

“Michael had a back spasm. He’s had that a few times. It usually takes a day or two to settle down and then he’ll be fine.”

Taylor Moore will train at Riccarton on Thursday with a view to being involved against Motherwell on Saturday. “I expect Taylor back. He is training tomorrow so if Halks is struggling then he can come in,” added Neilson.

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EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - JANUARY 26: Hearts' Craig Halkett suffers an injury during a cinch Premiership match between Hearts and Celtic at Tynecastle Park , on January 26, 2022, in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)

Celtic recorded a 2-1 victory in Edinburgh with first-half goals from Reo Hatate and Georgios Giakoumakis. Liam Boyce reduced the deficit after half-time and then struck the post with a penalty-kick following handball by the visiting debutant Matt O’Riley, leaving the hosts exasperated in defeat.

“When you get chances you have to take them and we had a few, but it wasn’t to be tonight,” said Neilson. “I thought we started the game very well but Celtic are a very good team and we allowed them to be a good team up to half-time.

“At that point we are 2-0 down and chasing it. The second half was pleasing but I thought the first half could be better.”

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou dismissed complaints over some refereeing decisions in the game and stated his team deserved their victory.

“The penalty looked like a handball to me,” said Postecoglou. “The goal [by Giakoumakis] might be offside, I don’t know. I think we spend too much time talking about those things. I don’t think the officials decided that game, I think we did.

“When the crowd gets behind Hearts you feel under more pressure than you are. Joe didn’t have that many saves to make. I thought our guys held out really well in the second half.”

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