Five of the Best: Celtic v Hearts Games at Parkhead
Two of Scottish football’s grand old clubs meet in the Ladbrokes Premiership on Saturday afternoon, as Edinburgh’s men in maroon travel to face Glasgow’s hooped heroes.
This fixture has produced a wealth of memorable moments, and ahead of this weekend’s clash at Celtic Park, here’s a look back at five past classics which took place on the Bhoys’ turf.
Celtic 1-3 Hearts (29 April 2007)
Hearts turned up at Celtic Park on a glorious April day in 2007 with the aim of raining on their hosts title parade and did just that. The Hoops may have already secured the league title, but with European football still up for grabs for the Tynecastle club, this was far from a dead rubber.
The first side to net three times against Celtic in the 2006-07 season, Hearts produced a second-half masterclass, as Kestutis Ivaskevicius slotted home neatly before Andrew Driver curled a superb free-kick past the helpless Artur Boruc, and Michal Pospisil sealed the points with a nonchalant penalty. There was still time for ex-Hearts man Steven Pressley to score for Celtic amidst the onslaught, but the day belonged to the visitors.
Celtic 4-2 Hearts (31 December 1988)
On a cold New Year’s Eve, in an era of seriously short shorts, there was a performance to warm the hearts of Celtic players and fans alike. Celtic led twice before being pegged back by a John Robertson penalty, and then a rebound from the Jam Tarts legend.
The game was played at a roaring pace, and eventually the home side showed the stamina and class needed to secure victory. Mark McGhee made it 3-2, with Billy Stark’s stunning volley the climax to the scoring, and the moment Celtic secured victory in this marathon fixture. Describing the day’s final goal, journalist Graham Spiers wrote of the Hearts keeper, “For the last time Smith sprawled helplessly as a pulsating victory was confirmed.”
Celtic 6-1 Hearts (18 November 2000)
In a season where Celtic swept aside all challengers, strolling to the Scottish Premier League title by an impressive 17 points, their best performance of the bunch came in this demolition of a hapless Hearts side under caretaker manager Peter Houston.
The game began well for Hearts, who took the lead through Scotland international Colin Cameron. However, the ruthless Hoops struck back four times before the break, with Joos Valgaeren’s sumptuously curled equaliser perhaps the pick of the bunch. Henrik Larsson’s scuffed effort and a Stiliyan Petrov tap-in put the icing on the cake in the final 10 minutes. Unsurprisingly, Houston wasn’t offered the job full-time!
Celtic 1-0 Hearts (13 December 1997)
While this tussle was far from the goal-fest of other entries on this list, it was a game of absolutely huge significance for both teams, and probably decided the destination of the Premier League title. A win for the visitors would have lifted them eight points ahead of Celtic, who fielded £2.3m signing Harald Brattbakk for his debut.
A superb finish from Craig Burley in the 79th minute was the difference between the two sides in a game where the Hoops dominated but failed to break down their opponents. Celtic eventually won the title by two points from Rangers, with Hearts just five points. A momentous win en route to the Bhoys’ first league title in nine years, following Rangers’ unbroken streak.
Celtic 3-4 Hearts (12 September 1959)
Luna 2 becomes the first spacecraft to reach the moon. Craig Douglas is #1 in the charts with ‘Only Sixteen’. And Heart of Midlothian were on their way to a second league title in three years, with Kilmarnock their closest challengers for the crown. In a year where swashbuckling Hearts scored 102 goals in 34 league games, netting four away at Celtic may have been their most impressive feat.
Celtic found themselves 3-0 down in a whirlwind first 25 minutes, as Johnny Hamilton, Jimmy Murray and Alex Young tore through the Hoops defence, with many home fans reportedly heading for the exits. Those who stayed, though, witnessed a miraculous comeback and then saw success snatched away. Bertie Auld, John Divers, and James Conway scored three times in the space of 20 second-half minutes to send the Hoops faithful wild. But wing half Bobby Blackwood grabbed a last-gasp winner to seal the points for the Edinburgh side.
Hearts are likely to interest many at 10/1 to secure a memorable victory, after four wins in their last five league games. However, Celtic have only conceded twice in their past seven home games and are 10/11 to keep a clean sheet and 1/4 to win.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.