Return to Tynecastle

With the magnificent seventh title being secured last week in the league’s single biggest victory of the season, and many of the Celtic players having enjoyed a few days in Tenerife afterwards, it’s been a great week.

Almost seems a shame to spoil the fun with another game!

There are just four games left this season. The next two are pretty meaningless as they come against teams guaranteed to finish outside of the European places. Our final league game against Aberdeen could be crucial for the Dons but to us it will be trophy day before we head to Hampden in our historic back to back treble bid.

But hang on a minute. Pretty meaningless… but not quite. After all, today’s match sees us return to the scene of probably our lowest point this season.

After 69 domestic unbeaten matches, Celtic’s record breaking run came to a spectacular end on our last visit to Tynecastle. The 4-0 hammering by Hearts was deflating, surprising, disappointing… and fully deserved.

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, it came soon after we’d been fortunate to escape Easter Road with a draw, and given we’ve since lost there too, we actually have an appalling record in Edinburgh this season. One point taken from a possible nine in fact!

The 4-0 defeat was a perfect storm of ineffective attacking, mistaken laden defending, and an opponent who played at the top of their game that day.

I’m not really expecting today to go the same way.

Hearts have been on holiday since clinching their top six spot. A 2-1 defeat at Ibrox was followed up by a 2-0 defeat at Pittodrie. Those teams are still chasing down a second place finish of course, while Hearts will definitely finish sixth. Not to mention Hearts away for has been awful all season.

At home though they’ve been pretty decent. In a season where they didn’t really have home games to begin with due to the renovation work at Tynecastle, their record since returning has seen them go fourteen games unbeaten. They haven’t lost a “home” game since defeat to Kilmarnock at Murrayfield.

It’s six wins and six draws in the league, plus two wins in the Scottish Cup in that period. Indeed the closest they’ve come to defeat at Tynecastle at all this season was the penalty shootout loss in the League Cup sectionals to Dunfermline under Ian Cathro!

We have of course beaten Hearts twice this season, both times at Celtic Park. The opening league fixture was a 4-1 win, while a 3-1 win earlier this year saw us take some revenge for the defeat that ended our run.

But really to avenge that we’ll need to win today and end their own unbeaten run. Seems only fitting, don’t you think?

There may be nothing technically at stake other than possibly cup final starting eleven places in a fortnight, but you have to hope we want to carry some momentum into that showpiece. We haven’t managed to string four wins together all season, never mind five.

Now would be a good time to finally do that and end the season with a flourish.

Krys (Twitter @krys1888)

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