Hearts star admits once being 'in awe' of Celtic ahead of Premiership opener

By John McGinley

July 26, 2021

Hearts striker Liam Boyce has admitted once being in awe of Celtic the first time he faced the Bhoys in competitive action.

The Northern Ireland international was at Cliftonville when the two clubs met in Champions League qualifying back in 2013.

As someone who grew up in a predominately Celtic supporting community, it was a massive occasion for Boyce.

However, he’s now hoping he has enough experience to put all those thoughts behind him come Saturday night when the two sides face off in Scottish Premiership action.

Speaking to The Scottish Sun, Boyce said of Celtic: “We’re at home against Celtic, we’re not conceding any goals, and we will be confident.

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“I was in awe of Celtic when I played against them for Cliftonville.

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“I recall the Champions League music playing at Parkhead, coming from a background where my friends and family are Celtic fans, the occasion can get to you. But you can’t carry that attitude with you into the game over here.

“It’s the same with Northern Ireland, sometimes you can pay too much respect to your opponents.

“We won’t be treating Celtic lightly, we will pay them the respect they deserve — but we will have confidence in our own ability as well.”

Boyce has been a prolific Scottish Premiership player over the years, netting 50 goals in 106 top-flight appearances, but only one of them has come against Celtic. That was for Ross County in a 2017 2-2 draw.

Photo By David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile via Getty Images

He netted another against the Bhoys in the Scottish Cup Final last year that Neil Lennon’s side would go on to win on penalties.

The 30-year-old has been in good form again for Hearts at the start of this season, netting three in four League Cup appearances, so he’s certainly a danger to watch on Saturday despite his poor record against the Bhoys.

At Tynecastle, he’s unlikely to be in awe of Celtic and Ange Postecoglou’s Bhoys will have to be at their best to pick up a win in a combative environment. We’ve seen much better teams than the current one go there and struggle.

In other news, Celtic prioritise Buta after Baldock move proves too difficult.

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