Neil Lennon’s Celtic moved five points clear at the summit of the Premiership with a 2-0 victory over Hearts at Tynecastle on Wednesday night. Ryan Christie and Olivier Ntcham netted the goals at the end of the first-half and the former also scored pretty highly in our players ratings.
Talking of which, here’s how the team got on in our eyes.
Fraser Forster – 7
The big Englishman nabbed his third clean sheet in a row with a solid display in Gorgie. That wasn’t a great deal to trouble him throughout the 90 minutes although he did hold on to a couple of stinging shots during the first half an hour. Was out quickly in the second-half to deny Michael Smith.
Jeremie Frimpong – 7
The slight Dutchman passed another test with flying colours. Frimpong was targeted a little by the home side in the early stages of the match but stood up to the challenge well and offered a real threat in the second-half. Another strong showing.
Christopher Jullien – 6
The big defender had to deal with a lot of aerial balls in the first-half and did so pretty routinely. On a testing Tynecastle surface, he did the basics well and didn’t try to play too much.
Kristoffer Ajer – 6
Jullien’s partner was similarly solid on an evening that had the potential to be tricky. Doing the basics well was again important and Ajer passed that test after a tricky opening. His ability to defend his team-mates is a continual source of pleasure to many Celtic supporters. He just gets it.
Jonny Hayes – 5
There may have been a few eyebrows raised when Hayes started ahead of Greg Taylor. That wonder may have turned to a little bit of frustration after seeing the poor nature of the Irishman’s first-half display. Hayes could do barely anything right prior to half-time although he did improve substantially after the break.
Scott Brown – 7
It wasn’t a night for free-flowing football. It was a battle and those are the kind of occasions when our skipper comes to the fore. After being booked harshly after 17 minutes he put in a sterling display that helped us dominate a tricky looking game. He’s so valuable to us on nights like this.
Callum McGregor – 7
The midfielder was another who grew into the game in the capital. As McGregor got better, Celtic as a team also improved, and that’s no coincidence. He was guilty of spurning a clear cut opportunity in the second-half.
Ryan Christie – 9
Where would we be without our midfield workhorse? Christie is such an important player for us right now, no matter the venue or opposition. After a slow start he grew into the game on the right and dispatched a clinical opener into the net past Joel Pereira. His display in the second-half was even better as he continually involved himself in the game.
Olivier Ntcham – 7
The Frenchman earned his selection with the clinical second goal just prior to half-time. The finish was not an easy one for Ntcham and many would have ballooned the ball over the bar on a testing surface. Our Rome hero was decent enough but many would still like to see more from him overall.
James Forrest – 7
There had been a few questions arising about the winger’s form going into the game. Forrest didn’t do too much to answer those early on in the match but he did end up putting in a wonderful display against tiring Hearts legs. His run for Ntcham’s goal was excellent although he should have scored himself shortly before.
Odsonne Edouard – 7
The Frenchman’s backheel flick for Christie’s goal was a seven on its own. Other than that, it was a slightly frustrating evening for the forward who nodded a header off the post and was denied by Pereira on a few other occasions. Hopefully he’s saving up his ruthless streak for our final three games of the year.
Leigh Griffiths and Nir Bitton both had very little time to put their stamp on the game after being brought on with just five minutes to go. Both will be hoping for some more game time over the next 11 days.