Hearts have just suffered a monumental Celtic Park blow

By David Walton

November 30, 2021

Hearts have just been handed a huge Celtic Park blow with star midfielder Beni Baningime ruled out of Thursday night’s Premiership clash.

The on-loan Everton man was stretchered off during the weekend’s win against St Mirren. However, Neilson would come out afterwards and state that he expected him to be fine as he was walking around and seemingly back to normal [Edinburgh Evening News].

However, as it turns out, the Congolese star actually won’t be fit and will instead miss out.

Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images

Speaking about the tough-tackling talent today, Neilson said the following as quoted by Clyde 1:

“Beni is getting scanned today so it doesn’t look like he’s going to be available for Thursday or the weekend. He’s still walking about but we thought we’d get it scanned as a precaution because he wouldn’t be ready for the game on Thursday.

“It’s not going to be a long-term one, I don’t think.”

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67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

Beni Baningime a massive loss for Hearts at Celtic Park

You can’t underestimate how big an affect this could have on how close Hearts actually get to Celtic on Thursday night.

Baningime is a massive player for them. He was given the man of the match award in the opening day of the season at Tynecastle. When Hearts beat Celtic 2-1 on that day, he was a workhorse as he constantly broke play up and won plenty of 50-50s in the middle of the park.

He was going to present a fine challenge for the likes of Callum McGregor and David Turnbull. In truth, the Celtic stars would’ve been hoping he was going to be fit in order to exact some revenge on him.

Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images

But it weakens Hearts considerably. Instead, Neilson is likely going to have to turn to the less effective Peter Haring. The Austrian is a much slower mover and less aggressive than his Congolese counterpart. That’s not the kind of influence Neilson will want Haring to have on his midfield.

So it looks as though Hearts’ chances of a result may even have gone with this injury blow. It certainly isn’t ideal for the Jambos boss, who will be cursing his luck as the Hoops look to wheel away from Hearts in the title-race.

All eyes on how they react on Thursday night then. It’s certainly made their jobs that bit more difficult.

In other news, Report: Celtic unlikely to sign 15-goal under-21 international