Hearts boss says struggling striker will "probably score" against Celtic

By David Walton

May 3, 2022

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson is desperately trying to get Liam Boyce back on track by stating he’ll “probably score” at Celtic Park on Saturday.

Boyce looks like being Hearts’ main man up top this weekend. With Ellis Simms struggling with a groin injury, the Northern Irishman is the only plausible option for the Tynecastle side.

However, he’s actually been struggling for form in 2022. Boyce only has 2 goals in 15 games despite starting consistently for Neilson [Transfermarkt]. He has scored twice against Celtic this season however, with goals both at Parkhead and Tynecastle respectively.

Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images

And Neilson is clearly trying to give him some sort of morale boost. As quoted by the Edinburgh Evening News, the Hearts boss said the following about his first-choice striker:

“It’s part of being at a big club. People think strikers at Hearts should be scoring every week but it doesn’t happen like that. He is our top goalscorer and one of the top goalscorers in the league. He had a couple of chances on Saturday, didn’t score, but he’s big enough to get himself into positions next week [at Celtic Park] and then he’ll probably score.

“You have periods when you’re scoring and periods when you aren’t. Liam got himself into good positions against County, especially for the second chance. He just didn’t quite get his foot round the ball. He will be disappointed. We got into good areas in the game but our final moment wasn’t there and that was the problem.”

Ange thrilled with Mark Lawwell appointment as glamorous Champions League picture emerges

Ange thrilled with Mark Lawwell appointment as glamorous Champions League picture emerges
67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

Liam Boyce struggling badly as in-form Celtic await

Boyce is a threat and we know that. You don’t want to give him too many opportunities in front of goal. He showed that at Tynecastle when he pulled one back for Hearts in our 2-1 January win. Granted, that particular strike should’ve been flagged for offside.

But his only goals since then have come against Dundee United away from home. He’s been struggling badly, even if he’s been getting into key positions.

Boyce was particularly profligate in the Scottish Cup semi-final against Hibernian. He missed several big chances to score and his confidence in front of goal looked shot. Not once did it look convincing that he was going to slot his opportunities away.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

That will be a concern for Hearts. Boyce isn’t likely to get much of a look-in at Parkhead this weekend. Chances will be at a premium, and he clearly isn’t in a good place. This is clearly an example of Neilson desperately trying to shoot his confidence up ahead of the final few games of the season.

He’ll be up against it when he faces off against this Celtic defence too. Remember, Joe Hart has kept 25 clean sheets with the Bhoys having only shipped 20 in the league all season [Transfermarkt]. It’s the best backline in the country, contrary to what overly-critical pundits say.

Hopefully, they’re ready to ensure Boyce gets no opportunity to pounce this weekend. Do that, and we’ll likely all but secure the title.

In other news, Media pundits’ bafflingly negative Celtic reaction makes absolutely no sense