London Hearts Supporters Club

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<-Page <-Team Sun 02 Nov 2008 Hearts 0 Celtic 2 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Times ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Csaba Laszlo <-auth Graham Spiers auth-> Craig Thomson
Zaliukas Marius [S Maloney 6] ;[G Caldwell 19]
10 of 016 ----- L SPL H

Celtic happy to pile on agony as Tynecastle fans lose heart

Hearts 0 Celtic 2
Graham Spiers

Celtic enjoyed the spoils at Tynecastle yesterday, and this was faintly ignominious for Heart of Midlothian. There have been few times, surely, when a Hearts team has been so embarrassingly outclassed as this, and that includes the opening 51 minutes when the home side played with 11 men before Marius Zaliukas was sent off.

Celtic were in an utter comfort zone, two goals up inside the opening 20 minutes, with poor Hearts chasing shadows and appearing to lose every 50-50 ball that was going. It must have been cringe-making to watch for the home support, who were reduced to silence, save for some angry rants, for most of the afternoon.

This match made it seven in a row without a win for Csaba Laszlo, and on this evidence, it’s little wonder.

Hearts’ head coach has not just some tactical thinking to do, but perhaps some bridge building as well between himself and some of his players. The home sections at Tynecastle were booing and jeering at Laszlo’s strange decision to haul off Christian Nade after 59 minutes and replace him with Jamie Mole. Nade made his feelings known to his manager, contemptuously pushing away Laszlo’s arm as the coach tried to thank him for his efforts. Something was decidedly wrong with Hearts.

Celtic could even afford to miss a penalty after 51 minutes, Paul Hartley screwing his spot-kick wide of Janos Balogh’s right post after Zaliukas had been red-carded for pulling Scott McDonald in the box. This is not how it is supposed to be in Gorgie. Hearts are tumbling in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League, and supposed to be better and stronger than this, and Laszlo might be in a quiet sweat over it.

The Hearts head coach has many wellwishers in Scottish football but it is frustrating and agitating to be subjected to his gibberish following these games. Laszlo has a tendency to embark on long rambles, made up of reams of half-constructed sentences, which quite often amount to unintelligible nonsense.

He was at it again yesterday following this game and, with form like this from his team, he’ll soon be under pressure. “You are clueless, Laszlo!” one Hearts punter kept shouting from near the directors’ box with some venom throughout the second half.

The Tynecastle atmosphere was febrile, as ever, The Celtic support bayed their approval, throwing in every song you could think of: cultural, political, mickey-taking. Their manager also provided them with this feat while omitting Shunsuke Nakamura and Aiden McGeady from his starting XI, though McGeady did finally appear, to the now-traditional Tynecastle welcome.

Late on, Hearts had a couple of meek efforts, when Mole and Michael Stewart had shots saved by Artur Boruc, but the Celtic goalkeeper could have taken most of the afternoon off.

Celtic’s policy was clear. Manchester United are next up on Wednesday night in the Champions League at Celtic Park, and McGeady – or certainly Nakamura – was being saved for that occasion. Strachan also went for tenacity in Barry Robson and Hartley as his midfield enforcers, and the policy was thoroughly vindicated. It was worrying to see Hearts lose so many head-to-head duels over these 90 minutes.

Hearts will gripe about many things, not least what looked like a handball by Gary Caldwell which aided the Celtic defender in scoring his side’s second goal. But there was no disputing the red card that the referee, Craig Thomson, correctly showed to Zaliukas.

The Hearts defender blatantly pulled McDonald back as the striker was bursting through on goal. With the score 2-0 at the time, a third Celtic goal so early in the second half would have made this game even more of a mismatch than it already was.

The game had already threatened to become a nonevent after Celtic swept to their two-goal lead inside 19 minutes. With the Tynecastle atmosphere as fraught as this, the last thing you wanted, simply for the sake of a spectacle, was a complete Celtic subjugation of Hearts, yet the game worryingly unfolded that way. Hearts looked dazed, as if transfixed by Celtic’s energy.

This game surely also witnessed one of the goals of the season from Shaun Maloney – his opener for Celtic was an utter peach, a ball struck as sweetly an any the striker will despatch in his entire career. Balogh, Hearts’ on-loan Hungarian goalkeeper, came to meet Andreas Hinkel’s free kick and fisted the ball clear. Alas for Hearts, the clearance fell straight to Maloney who, 25 yards out, met the ball on the volley and guided it with venom into the empty net.

If that moment seemed a little bit of genius from Celtic, the visitors’ second goal was much more controversial. Hartley’s corner was met by Robson, who headed on to McDonald, whose header in turn was dramatically saved by Balogh. A real goal-mouth scramble then ensued, wherein Caldwell certainly seemed to handle the ball before prodding it home at the back post.

From there, Hearts could find no way back, though they did shout for a penalty when Cillian Sheridan appeared to block a Bruno Aguiar free kick with an arm.

After the final whistle we then had Strachan being abused by a corporate drunkard inside Tynecastle’s main stand. All in, they don’t come much worse than this for Hearts.

Hearts (4-4-1-1): J Balogh 5 E Johnsson 5 M Zaliukas 4 C Berra 6 L Wallace 5 D Cesnauskis 3 C Karipidis 5 M Stewart 4 A Driver 6 B Aguiar 6 C Nade 5 Substitutes S Mikoliunas 4 (for Cesnauskis, 34min), J Mole 5 (for Nade, 59), R Palazuelos (for Aguiar, 76). Not used J MacDonald, J Makela, J Thomson, A Ksanavicius.

Celtic (4-4-2): A Boruc 5 A Hinkel 6 S McManus 7 G Caldwell 7 M Wilson 6 S Brown 7 B Robson 7 P Hartley 6 S Maloney 8 S McDonald 7 C Sheridan 6 Substitutes A McGeady 5 (for Maloney, 68min), M Donait (for Robson, 76). Not used M Brown, S Nakamura, M Donati, P McCourt, D O’Dea, P Caddis.

Referee: C Thomson. Attendance: 15,460

Taken from

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