Three things we learned from Celtic 3-1 Hearts

Michael Smith became the latest Hearts player to go off injured during a match.
Michael Smith became the latest Hearts player to go off injured during a match.
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Here are three Hearts-related observations from the 3-1 defeat at Celtic Park.

Bottom of the pile

Three games into the season, Hearts find themselves joint bottom of the table. While this is never an ideal scenario, there will be no panic at Tynecastle just yet as a significant factor in their slow start has been the fact they have kicked off with two of the toughest fixtures on the calendar - Aberdeen away and Celtic away. Being in the relegation zone won’t sit so easily with supporters, however, if they are still there after Saturday’s home game against Hamilton Accies.

Lack of focus costly

It would be stretching a point to suggest Hearts deserved anything from their trip to Glasgow because they didn’t offer enough in an attacking sense, aside from the closing ten minutes when they started to chase the game. But for most of the first half they were well in the game and knocking Celtic out of their stride with a gameplan designed to frustrate. Even once they fell behind to an ugly opening goal, which could have been prevented, they rarely looked like being overrun apart from a slack six-minute period in the second half when they conceded twice and ultimately left themselves with too much to do.

More injury woe

Hearts are now literally having to contend with an injury on a game-by-game basis. Coming after the fitness issues that had a big effect on wrecking their campaign last time round, Craig Levein has now, remarkably, lost a key player within the first 45 minutes of each of his team’s last four matches. The injury to Michael Smith early on at Parkhead meant Hearts finished arguably their toughest fixture of the season without the influential right-back, John Souttar, Steven Naismith Jamie Walker and Peter Haring - five of their best and most influential players.