Hearts v Celtic: how to watch live, team news, possible XI, match odds

Hearts kick off their cinch Premiership campaign with a home clash against rivals Celtic.

Friday, 30th July 2021, 9:43 pm
Hearts defeated Celtic at Tynecastle in August 2018. Picture: SNS

On their return to the top-flight, the club will unfurl the Championship winners flag at Tynecastle Park ahead of the match.

Hearts come into the fixture having won all four Premier Sports Cup fixtures, not conceding a goal in the process.

They will be backed by more than 5,000 home fans after being granted the capacity increase by Edinburgh City Council. However, the club sought to clarify the situation as they wanted a bigger capacity.

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Celtic come into the match having gone through extra-time in their Champions League qualifying tie against FC Midtjylland where they ultimately lost.

The game, live on Sky Sports, has been given an unusual 8pm time slot.

Team news: Hearts will be near enough full strength for the league clash. There could be a debut for new boy Beni Baningime. John Souttar sat out the 1-0 win over Inverness CT after sustaining a knock in the win over Stirling Albion but should be back for Saturday. Jamie Walker has yet to start a game this season as he has worked his way towards full match fitness but made a positive impact off the bench in the win over the Highlanders.

Possible XI: Gordon; Souttar, Halkett, Kingsley; Smith, Halliday, Haring, Cochrane; Ginnelly, Boyce, Mackay-Steven.

What the manager said: It's not a lot of changes to the team that started [the Scottish Cup final in December]. I think Celtic probably have more changes in their group that played the game. From our perspective, different Celtic team, different management team. It’s going to be a different game but one we believe we can win.

Match details: Saturday, 31 July. Tynecastle Park, Edinburgh. Kick-off 8pm.

How to watch: With just over 5,000 in attendance there will be plenty of supporters looking to catch the game on TV or online. The Scottish Premiership's broadcast partner Sky Sports are showing the game live on their ‘Main Event’ and ‘Football’ channels with coverage beginning at 7.30pm. The game is also available to season-ticket holders on Hearts TV. They will be able to watch every home league game this season on the club’s channel, including those matches shown on Sky.

Last meeting: Despite the teams being in different leagues last season they met in the 2020 Scottish Cup final held in December. And it was a doozy. Hearts ran Celtic very close, losing the game on penalties after an eventful 120 minutes of action. The Parkhead side raced into a 2-0 lead in the opening half hour but Robbie Neilson's men fought back after the break with goals from Liam Boyce and Stephen Kingsely. Leigh Griffiths looked like he may well have won it in extra-time only for Josh Ginnelly to take it to penalties where Celtic won 4-3.

Key stat: Hearts have won just twice in the last 33 games against Celtic, going back to 2012.

Referee: Bobby Madden – The official took charge of just two Hearts games last season, both home wins over Inverness CT. This will be the fifth time he has overseen a fixture against Celtic. The club’s record in those previous games stands at four losses.

Match odds: Hearts 15/4 Draw 14/5 Celtic 8/11 (via McBookie)

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