Hearts vs Celtic
Hearts opened their new Premiership season with an impressive performance last Saturday when the team visited Hamilton. They were set as favorites and completely justified that role with a 1:4 victory and a great performance overall.
Despite the fact that they conceded a goal in a seventeenth minute via Miller, the side showed great spirit from then on and completely outplayed the opponent. They leveled up three minutes later via Haring continuing to be better in the first halftime. Their performance was even improved in the second, managing to score three goals in the first twenty minutes of the repetition.
Goalscorers were Naismith from a penalty kick, Haring again and MacLean, while the players of Hamilton looked really defensive all the second halftime and were limited to a very defensive role without creating anything properly.
- Even before the start of the Premiership, players of Hearts looked decently well in their friendlies and BetFred Cup matches, finishing the group competition with three victories and a draw, having scored thirteen goals in comparison to only two conceded.
Surely that the side will want to exploit their good momentum, but also hurt the biggest club in the country since they know very well that Celtic has a busy schedule and now could be the time to hurt them.
Striker Kyle Lafferty and right back Michael Smith are pushing for returns in this one. Other than that, their manager has no real reason to make any changes in the starting lineup. Longer-term absentees Arnaud Djoum and Don Cowie are coming slowly from injuries, but remain sidelined. Jamie Brandon and Marcus Godinho continue to miss for a few more weeks.
Celtic didn't have many problems to overpower Livingston at home in the league opening game last weekend with a 3:1 result. They entered the match strongly and took the lead already in eight-minute via Rogic. Edouard doubled up in the 26th minute and it was already known that three points will stay with Celtic.
Ntcham scored their third goal from a penalty in the 50th minute, while the hosts lowered down the tempo and allowed bit more of the ball possession to the visiting side as well. In the end, guests reduced the deficit in the third minute of added time via Robinson in one of their rare chances they had.
Their attention is to Champions League qualifiers as well, as the side is expected to reach the group stage.
- They already did well to progress over Alashkert and Rosenborg, having strong matches in their legs, but the side had a problematic 1:1 draw against AEK Athens last Wednesday evening at home. It's troubling result ahead of the match in Athens as everyone expected them to win.
Despite taking the lead in a seventeenth minute via McGregor they didn't exploit the domination and ball possession they had. It didn't help much the fact that the Greek side played with a man less since 57th minute when Galanopoulos had to leave the field due to the second yellow card.
Some rotation is completely probable with their Champions League qualifiers game in between. Midfielders Nir Bitton, Lewis Morgan and forward Moussa Dembele are out with injuries. Defender Marvin Compper and midfielder Jules Ntcham are not ready to play. Some of the players will need to be rested here.
No doubt that Celtic has more quality and normally, would be a favorite. However, with Hearts in a great momentum and with the visiting side in between two very important matches, I definitely see the chances for Hearts. With Celtic making a setback in a home match against AEK, all the value is surely is with a home team now.
Hearts vs Celtic prediction
Hearts +0.5 Asian handicap @ 2.40 with Pinnacle