"We got dominated"; SPFL boss' frank admission on Ange Postecoglou and Celtic

By Euan Davidson

November 30, 2021

Hearts boss Robbie Neilson admits his side were “dominated” by Celtic under Ange Postecoglou in the Premier Sports Cup this season.

Although the Jambos were victors in the season opener at Tynecastle, they came to Celtic Park just weeks later and lost 3-2 [BBC]. Edouard, Welsh and Furuhashi were on the scoresheet, with a late Hearts penalty making it look like a closer game.

On Thursday night, the two square off again. Hearts have been on excellent form under Robbie Neilson, sitting third in the table. They led the way in the initial stages of the league campaign.

Photo by Ross MacDonald/SNS Group via Getty Images

However, Celtic have leapfrogged them into second, and could create some distance with a win. And Neilson, speaking to Hearts media ahead of the trip to Glasgow, isn’t taking the occasion lightly.

He said [HMFC]:

“They’ve got good players, there is no doubting it. You look at internationals right through their team. They’re going to be a good team.

“We played them at the start of the season and they were just starting to develop how they want to play and it’s a bit more consistent now.

“The last time we struggled to get any pressure on them, especially in the first half. We got kind of dominated but in the second half we changed it and got more pressure and we were more in the game, and managed to score a couple of goals.”

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Ange Postecoglou will be hoping for repeat Celtic performance against Robbie Neilson and Hearts

Admittedly, Hearts were a bit better in the second half of that Premier Sports Cup game. Although, Celtic still ended up with 72% possession and a ridiculous 36 shots on goal [BBC].

As ever, these things are subjective.

That was August, though. So much has changed since then. In all respects, Celtic are a better team now than they were then. The defence is far more settled, while the likes of Juranovic and Jota have been added to the team.

Photo by Ralf Treese/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Hearts are dangerous, though, and make no mistake. Their form over the last six games has been patchy [WhoScored?], but there’s a reason they’re still within touching distance of top spot.

On an unusual Thursday night league game, the pressure on both sides will be intense. For Hearts, it’d be a statement win, a second over Celtic this season. From Celtic’s point of view, this is must-win, the kind of result that stamps title credentials.

It’s a potentially explosive encounter. But what’s clear is that Neilson isn’t taking anything for granted despite the Tynecastle victory. For he knows what this Celtic team can do when they reach top gear.

Read more: Long-term Celtic absentee indicates training return on Instagram