3 burning issues as Celtic survive Hearts fightback for huge three points

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3 burning issues as Celtic survive Hearts fightback for huge three points
3 burning issues as Celtic survive Hearts fightback for huge three points

Return of Jota

Possibly one of the most pleasing aspect of tonight’s victory for Celtic fans must be the return of Jota. The Portuguese winger played for an hour as Ange Postecoglou decided to bring one of his star men off with the Premiership matches coming thick and fast. The 22-year-old was back to his best in possession, dribbling in and out of the Hearts defence constantly. He created four really good opportunities for himself during his time on the field, as he cut inside on to his right foot. He failed to convert, but it’s a sign of what he can do – especially with many big games coming up next month.

A bit of a let off

For the opening 45-minutes, it was one-way traffic. Celtic were in total control and Hearts were largely anonymous. The strike by Reo Hatate was outstanding, and the quick follow-up to double the visitor’s advantage was equally as impressive. While it was always expected that Hearts, as the home team, would come out firing in the second-half to try get something out of the game, there’s no doubt Celtic could’ve dealt with the pressure better. Poor positional sense allowed Liam Boyce in to score, although he did look offside. Handball by Nir Bitton then allowed Boyce the chance to level from the spot. And that’s where the let off came for the Hoops. Hearts could’ve easily earned a point from the match through silly defensive mistakes. That will be a concern for Postecoglou.

Matt O’Riley debut

A very impressive first game for Celtic’s new number 33. The Englishman, 21, started in the midfield three alongside Hatate and Bitton. Clearly tasked with regularly breaking forward and linking the play between the midfield and attackers, the former MK Dons star saw plenty of the ball in advanced areas. He notched an assist on weaker foot for the second goal. There were major doubts about whether goalscorer Giorgos Giakoumakis was onside, but it was a dangerous delivery from O’Riley. Plenty of positives for the midfielder to build on, especially with Callum McGregor and David Turnbull out injured.

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