Hearts certainly have plenty of weaknesses ahead of their trip to Celtic Park on Wednesday, but perhaps none are as glaring as goalkeeper Joel Pereira.

Pereira was signed by former manager Craig Levein back in the summer from Manchester United. The deal sees the goalkeeper contracted to Tynecastle in a loan agreement until the end of the season.

At this rate, however, Hearts certainly won’t be rushing back to Old Trafford in a desperate bid to bring him back next year.

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Joel Pereira against Rangers (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Pereira’s stats this year look poor. He’s only secured five clean sheets from 24 games, conceding 38 goals in the process (Transfermarkt). But ever since his side’s 2-1 win over Rangers last month, he’s come under the spotlight for the wrong reasons.

Too many mistakes

The Portuguese stopper has made howlers in matches against both St Johnstone and Kilmarnock respectively. Ali McCann sent a strike right through him when he should’ve kept it out in Saints’ 3-3 draw with Hearts. Eamonn Brophy then did something similar for Killie when his strike seemed to deceive Pereira in the air. Hearts would end up losing 3-2.

That’s also not to mention the other error he made in the 3-3 game. He woefully parried a Chris Kane shot straight to McCann, who somehow managed to miss from close-range.

Joel Pereira (Ewan Bootman/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

His latest outing came against Falkirk on Saturday. He managed one of his five clean sheets against the League One side, but even then he made a meal out of simple situations.

The Bairns threw crosses into the area that should’ve been food and drink for Pereira. Instead, he was often having to gather tame high balls at the second-attempt. He looks extremely shaky, and some in the Hearts support are clearly concerned:

 

There’s clearly a lack of confidence in Pereira rippling through the Tynecastle support. That doesn’t bode well for an assignment at Celtic Park.

The on-loan Man Utd star also looks a cert to play given he’s been their first-choice shot-stopper all season. And if he does, Celtic need to power his goal with strikes from wherever they can.

Pereira has been extremely suspect from efforts from range. With the likes of Olivier Ntcham, Callum McGregor, and Leigh Griffiths all likely to play for Celtic, we certainly have the players to make the most of that.

Pereira has been all over the place recently – it’s time for Celtic to take advantage of that uncertainty.

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