Celtic win Scottish Premiership title after 5-0 win over Hearts – as it happened

02 April 2017 01:50
Scott Sinclair’s hat-trick secured Celtic’s 48th Scottish title - and their sixth in a row. 2.49pm BST Congratulations to Celtic, then: Scottish Premiership champions 2016-17! They’ve secured the title with eight games still to play, having dropped just four points in 30 matches! Astonishing. A triumph for the ages. And with the League Cup also in the bag, they’ll now start dreaming of securing the Scottish Cup and the fourth domestic Treble in the club’s history. They’ll take some stopping; it could be quite a year! Related: Five-star Celtic dispatch Hearts to secure Scottish Premiership title 2.43pm BST And now a word from Brendan Rodgers, a title-winning manager at last! “It’s nice to clinch it, of course, but to play in the manner we did was very important for me. I always demand it. It is important how the players represent the club: Celtic is all about professionalism, dignity, pride and style. To clinch it how we did, playing like we did, is a massive credit to the players!” 2.35pm BST The captain Scott Brown speaks . “It’s a great performance today. Scott Sinclair deserves all the plaudits, he’s been outstanding this season from start to finish. We’re a lot fitter under the new manager, we’re scoring a lot more goals, and we’ve made some not-bad signings! We are going to push as hard as we possibly can in the Champions League next season.”. alongside hat-trick hero Scott Sinclair. “The whole point when I signed was to enjoy my football again, and get my form back. Which I have. The manager believes in me. I’m just enjoying every minute of it!” 2.28pm BST Rodgers leads his Celtic team to the away end. Players applaud punters; punters applaud players. It’s a love-in! Then a moment of introspection, sort of, as the squad group into the mother of all huddles and bounce around in a circle for a while. Lovely scenes. The other three sides of Tynecastle are deserted, of course, as Hearts fans wander off to contemplate their team’s worst home defeat since losing 7-0 to Hibs in 1973. Contrasting emotions all right. 2.22pm BST Scott Sinclair started it with the winner here at Tynecastle back in August; he’s wrapped it up with a brilliant hat-trick at the same venue today! Celtic have won the Scottish title for the sixth year in a row; it’s their 48th championship overall! They’ve been a class apart, and the celebrations start now. The players pull on some celebratory bibs; Brendan Rodgers, ever the gentleman, commiserates with Ian Cathro and the Hearts players before joining his men, a broad, proud smile playing across his face! 2.19pm BST 90 min: With the scoreline as it is, only one extra minute will be added on. Sixty seconds to cigarettes and booze! 2.18pm BST 89 min: . nearly clears Arthur’s Seat. 2.18pm BST 88 min: Cowie trips the excellent Tierney as the Celtic defender sashays in from the left. A free kick in a dangerous area, 25 yards out. Armstrong stands over it, and. 2.17pm BST 87 min: Kolo Toure, who so nearly won the English title three years ago with Rodgers at Liverpool, comes on for Boyata. 2.16pm BST 86 min: Forrest turns on the jets to burn down the right. His low cross is only just missed by Mackay-Steven, six yards out. This is already a rout; Hearts don’t want this to turn into an abject humiliation. 2.14pm BST Sinclair bashes the penalty into the top left. That’s his hat-trick, his 21st goal of the season, and his sixth against Hearts. Celtic enjoy a little group cuddle on the penalty spot, and you can’t begrudge them: what a way to win the title! 2.12pm BST 83 min: Sinclair bursts into the box down the left. Nowak comes across and upends him. The referee has no option. That’s a spot kick. 2.11pm BST 82 min: This is a training-ground exercise now. Celtic playing keep-ball. Sinclair, Tierney, Armstrong and Mackay-Steven take turns to cause a little bother in the Hearts box. Hearts desperately swarm around them and eventually hack clear. 2.09pm BST 80 min: Celtic make a double change. Roberts and Lustig are replaced by Mackay-Steven and Gamboa. 2.09pm BST 79 min: A rare Hearts attack. Cowie plays a clever ball down the inside-right channel to release Struna . but the Hearts full back has gone too early, and the flag goes up. 2.07pm BST 77 min: Roberts tries to liven the mood with a burst down the right. His dipping cross is met by Forrest on the penalty spot. Forrest surely has to score, but fluffs a very weak shot, under pressure from Bauben. Hamilton smothers. 2.05pm BST 75 min: It’s very quiet at the moment. 2.03pm BST 73 min: The Celtic fans are running through their party songbook. A few ole!s as their team stroke it around the back. A sense that we’re just all looking at the clock now. 2.02pm BST 71 min: With the red mist threatening to descend on Goncalves, he’s hooked for Beith. He doesn’t seem too happy about it. He’s played well. The look he shoots Ian Cathro! Ah to be a fly on the wall in the Hearts dressing room afterwards. 1.59pm BST 69 min: A bad 60 seconds from Boyata, who cynically slashes at the back of Goncalves’ boots, the big Hearts striker having turned out of a tight spot brilliantly. He was making his way with some purpose into a sparsely populated Celtic half; he’s entitled to be irritated, which he obviously is. Sure enough, the free kick comes to naught. 1.57pm BST 68 min: . Boyata rises high, only to slap his header from ten yards well over the crossbar. 1.56pm BST 67 min: McGregor and Forrest scuttle down the inside-right channel and earn Celtic a corner. From which. 1.55pm BST 65 min: Hearts look visibly deflated. They were snapping at Celtic’s heels all the way through the first half. Now, not so much. They make a double change: Walker and Tziolis off, Martin and Bauben on. Meanwhile here’s Simon McMahon, continuing the Supertramp theme, because somebody had to: “Am guessing that the Celtic fans will take the long way home today.” 1.52pm BST Hearts certainly would, anyway. This is turning into a rout. Avlonitis plays a piss-poor pass upfield. It’s intercepted easily by McGregor, and suddenly Hearts are light at the back and in awful trouble. McGregor slips a pass down the inside-right channel, Roberts steps into the area, drops a shoulder, and curls a shot around Nowak and into the top left. What a finish! Hamilton had no chance. This is a championship party all right! 1.49pm BST 60 min: But it’s all gone a bit scrappy again. Everyone knows what’s what. If there was an option to end this match prematurely, you’d guess that everyone would take it. 1.48pm BST 58 min: Walker has been a marvellous nuisance all afternoon, and he nearly breaks through the middle of the Celtic defence with another busy bustle. The ball clanks off his boot and nearly whistles into the bottom left from the edge of the box, but Gordon has that one covered too. 1.46pm BST 57 min: Kitchen attempts to respond by sending a dipping screamer in the general direction of the Celtic goal from 30 yards. A decent enough effort, albeit one which sails wide left. Gordon had it covered. 1.45pm BST And there goes that lull! Tierney cuts in from the left, and rolls a glorious hit-me-hit-me-hit-me ball across the face of the Hearts box. Armstrong takes a stride and batters a shot into the bottom right! Maybe Hamilton should have done a bit better - certainly he sent Celtic on their way initially with a poor clearance - but that was all about Tierney and Armstrong. It’s Celtic’s party, after all! 1.44pm BST 53 min: There goes that lively start to the second half. A lull. 1.42pm BST 51 min: Celtic have the ball in the net again, and once more it’s ruled out. McGregor is in space out on the right, and bumbles a cross into the middle. Sinclair is waiting to sidefoot home, but he’s offside. Avlontis slides in and guides the ball into his own net. But the flag goes up, and it’s disallowed. No doubt there will be differing interpretations of that, but it looks like the right decision to me: the defender wouldn’t make the attempt to intercept were Sinclair not active in the middle. 1.39pm BST 50 min: Johnsen races towards the Celtic box, with the visitors light at the back. He’s got Cowie free on his right, but opts to keep going himself, and eventually scores three rugby points. That’s not very clever; Cowie was in acres. Cowie makes his displeasure known using the international language of mime. 1.38pm BST 48 min: Walker attempts to bring down a high ball, 35 yards from goal. Simunovic rattles him to the ground, and it’s a free kick for Hearts. A training-ground routine, which sees three maroon shirts spray off to the left, goes awry. Cowie tries to salvage the situation with a deep cross towards Goncalves at the right-hand post, but the Hearts striker is surrounded and never winning a header. 1.36pm BST 46 min: A subdued start to the second half, as Tierney takes a couple of throw-ins deep in Hearts territory, in almost total silence. It’s almost as if everyone’s already waiting for the final whistle, one way or another. 1.34pm BST We’re off again! No changes have been made. Celtic get the ball rolling for the second half. They’re just 45 minutes plus stoppages away from their sixth league title in a row, their 48th in total. 1.21pm BST Half-time sing-song: It was only a matter of time before Supertramp were reclaimed by the hipsters. 1.19pm BST And that’s your lot for the first half. Scott Sinclair scored his fourth and fifth goals against Hearts this season, and Celtic are halfway to their 48th league title. The home side shouldn’t beat themselves up too badly; they’ve played well. This is just how Celtic have been rolling all season. Don’t leave before the party begins, now! 1.17pm BST 45 min: Nowak is booked for cutting down Forrest, who was on a high-speed slalom down the middle of the park. 1.16pm BST 44 min: All a bit scrappy now, as both teams begin to dream of their half-time orange quarters. Cowie goes up for a high ball on the edge of the Celtic penalty area, and is bundled in the back by Simunovic. No penalty. No free kick either, strangely. “Brown is a bit of a throwback in the sense that he just gets on with it,” opines Simon McMahon. “There should be more like him.” 1.14pm BST 42 min: McGregor sprays a pass out to the right for Forrest. Nowak is going to reach the bouncing ball first. Forrest goes in with a high boot, and though there doesn’t look to be much contact, that’s a deserved yellow card for recklessness. 1.12pm BST 40 min: Goncalves, Cowie and Struna work it cleverly down the right, the latter reaching the byline and whipping a cross into the danger zone. But Boyata is on hand to deal with the danger. Hearts continue to look impressive against the best team in the country. 1.10pm BST 38 min: A loose backpass from Sowah very nearly lets Forrest through on goal. Hamilton races out of his area to blast clear of trouble. Brown meanwhile is back on the field. Like a twisted ankle is going to stop him. 1.09pm BST 37 min: Brown might have injured himself here, though. He’s accidentally stood on the foot of Cowie as the pair contested a high ball, eyes up. A twisted ankle, and he’s off the park getting some strapping. 1.07pm BST 35 min: Brown nearly starts a diplomatic crisis over a throw-in. He’s wonderfully intense, another reason Celtic are romping away with this title. 1.05pm BST 33 min: Another minor rammy, this time on the pitch, as Kitchen tries to take a quick free kick in the centre circle. McGregor stands in the way and, once Kitchen objects, goes into full Scrappy-Doo mode. He’s booked for his in-your-face stylings, as is Goncalves for, well, not very much. 1.03pm BST 31 min: Hearts haven’t given this up quite yet, with Struna, Cowie, Walker and Goncalves all taking turns to probe around the Celtic area. Nothing doing. Thing is, despite Celtic’s high-quality smash-and-grab, Hearts have actually played very well so far. It’s been pretty evenly balanced. But this is why Celtic are going to win the championship. 1.02pm BST 29 min: Suffice to say, the Hearts fans aren’t particularly happy with how this match has suddenly turned. Lustig goes to gather the ball for a throw; a Hearts supporter picks it up and flings it away. There’s a bit of Hegelian chat. Something and nothing. Top-class eejitry all round. 1.00pm BST Having threatened to equalise, Hearts fall further behind! Celtic go straight up the other end. Roberts, in the middle of the Hearts half, shimmies to make himself a bit of room then slips a ball down the park to release Sinclair. He takes a touch and slips a shot into the bottom left. Two in three minutes, and six in a row is on! 12.58pm BST 26 min: Hearts respond well through Goncalves, who bombs down the inside-right channel, refusing to give up. He’s stopped by a combination of Brown and Simunovic. From the restart, Hearts work the ball out to Nowak on the left. He can’t get a cross in. Then Walker has a go, but he’s crowded out. 12.56pm BST What a finish this is! Sinclair and Tierney faff around out on the left awhile, waiting to see what’s what. Eventually Sinclair decides to act. He crisply one-twos with Roberts, and suddenly he’s free in the area! There’s still a bit to do, but he absolutely roofs a shot from a slightly tight angle, 12 yards out. No stopping that! 12.53pm BST 22 min: Walker twists and turns down the inside-left channel, and earns Hearts’ first corner of the game. Cowie hits it long. Nowak heads it down, and Walker, on the right-hand corner of the six-yard box, looks to hook home. Gordon is right behind him to parry round the post. The second corner comes to nothing. But good luck in guessing the opening scorer. Both teams are giving it plenty. 12.51pm BST 20 min: . nothing occurs. But that’s padded out the first real lull in an otherwise excellent match. 12.51pm BST 19 min: Forrest twists Nowak this way and that, earning a corner down the right. From which. 12.50pm BST 17 min: This is wonderful end-to-end entertainment. Cowie feeds Walker into space in the middle of the Celtic half. Walker slides a pass through the Celtic backline to release Goncalves into the area on the left. He’s one on one with Gordon! But the keeper comes out to close the angle, blocks, and even wins the goal kick. Then the visitors go up the other end, Sinclair dancing his way down the left before clipping a stunning ball to the far post. McGregor must score from close range, but he somehow squirts his sidefoot wide right of the target. A bad miss. 12.47pm BST 15 min: Armstrong, McGregor, Roberts and Tierney are all involved as Celtic spray the ball around from right to left. Some lovely close footwork from Tierney nearly opens up some space down the inside-left channel, but Hearts are pressing well and they panic the Celtic full-back into a rash pass inside to nobody. All very pretty, though, very Brendan Rodgers. 12.45pm BST 13 min: Hearts are in full flight right now. Out on the left wing, Goncalves back-flicks in the fancy style to set Sowah scampering clear. He’s brought down. Free kick, which is lumped fairly witlessly into the mixer by Tziolis; Gordon plucks it from the sky. 12.44pm BST 12 min: After a squeeze of the magic sponge, Gordon is OK. He’s soon nearly in action again, as Walker races down the left after a long Sowah throw. He whips a ball into the middle for Cowie, who can’t connect. Gordon comes out to gather, but Lustig takes no chances and wheechs the ball away from danger first. 12.42pm BST 10 min: This is an impressive spell from Hearts, and in particular Goncalves, who drives down the left, then cuts inside and sweeps past Simunovic and Lustig as though they didn’t exist. He reaches the left-hand edge of the D and lashes low towards the bottom left. Gordon smothers at the second attempt, and is clattered by the buzzing Walker for his trouble. 12.41pm BST 9 min: Struna slides a fine ball down the right wing for Walker, who bustles and eventually gets a cross into the Celtic box. Gordon comes off his line to punch confidently under intense pressure from Goncalves. 12.39pm BST 7 min: Wonderful, powerful play by Goncalves, who has no right whatsoever to win a long ball down the left wing, but muscles Lustig out of it, then whips a cross into the Celtic box. Johnsen chests it down for Walker, who hits an average shot wide left of goal from 20 yards. But that was a sweet move by Hearts, who clearly haven’t just turned up for the party. They’re showing plenty of attacking intent. 12.37pm BST 5 min: Walker goes sliding in on Forrest, who is waiting to receive a pass out on the right wing. He’s booked for the foul, and on another day that would have been a red card, albeit a slightly harsh one, Walker’s studs landing on the top of Forrest’s boot. An eventful start, to say the least: on another day, with another set of officials, Celtic could already be a goal up, Hearts a man down. 12.35pm BST 2 min: Sinclair picks the ball up in the middle of the park. He slides a simple pass down the inside-right channel to release McGregor on goal! McGregor gives Hamilton the eyes and sidefoots confidently into the bottom right. A lovely finish! But the flag’s gone up for offside. That was very tight, so much so that the flag surely should have stayed down. Roberts was certainly offside in the centre, but not interfering. A poor decision. 12.33pm BST Here we go, then! Hearts get the ball rolling. One hell of an atmosphere. Hearts earn a throw deep in Celtic territory. Sowah flings it into the mixer, but Simunovic deals with it easily enough. A bright, positive start from the hosts. 12.29pm BST The teams are out! Heart of Midlothian are in their gorgeous maroon, Celtic their equally resplendent green-and-white hoops. On a beautiful day in Edinburgh, sunbeams glimmering across Tynecastle, it’s a visual feast. Destiny awaits Celtic; Hearts simply want a boost in their quest for a Europa League spot. We’ll be off in a minute! 12.20pm BST Ian Cathro - who has won just five of his 17 matches in charge so far, losing three of his last four, progressive thinking’s Kris Boyd will be delighted - speaks! “We focus on making sure we are competitive throughout the game. We’re playing against a strong opponent, but we have qualities as well, and we’ll focus on our qualities. It’s a very important game for us. It’s a constant process trying to improve. We’ve looked into the games where we’ve suffered a bit, and there are areas of work there. We want to make this a game of football today, and we want to compete. We are aware of their qualities, but we have quality too.” 12.13pm BST Brendan Rodgers - looking to become a title-winning manager at Celtic like Willie Maley, Jimmy McGrory, Jock Stein, Billy McNeill, David Hay, Win Jansen, Martin O’Neill, Gordon Strachan, Neil Lennon and Ronny Deila - speaks! “If we can do it today, great. If we don’t, it’s OK, we’ve got another game on Wednesday night, and then another game after that. Give no more, or no less. The players have been brilliant, they have been all season, so play how you’ve been in every game and do your very best. Our idea is to dominate the game, though we expect a tough game, even though Hearts have had mixed results . a real good test. Our style will always be the same, dominate, play with aggression, score goals, and hopefully win.” 12.00pm BST Sunday brunch:Beef Malabar is the guest curry at Tynecastle today. Visit the Curry Shed on the Wheatfield concourse #HMFCvCELTIC pic.twitter.com/uCh5cAAKcR 11.52am BST Hearts make two changes to the XI who didn’t acquit themselves particularly well at Pittodrie a fortnight ago. Arnaud Djoum has picked up a knock, while Sam Nicholson drops to the bench. Perry Kitchen and Bjorn Johnsen make the step up.Champions-elect Celtic must do without Moussa Dembele, who is missing altogether along with Leigh Griffiths. Dembele is the only change to the starting XI at Dundee two weeks ago: Patrick Roberts takes his place. 11.39am BST Heart of Midlothian: Hamilton, Struna, Avlonitis, Nowak, Sowah, Tziolis, Kitchen, Cowie, Walker, Johnsen, Goncalves.Subs: Buaben, Nicholson, Noring, Beith, Liam Smith, Currie, Martin.Celtic: Gordon, Lustig, Simunovic, Boyata, Brown, Armstrong, Tierney, McGregor, Sinclair, Forrest, Roberts.Subs: Toure, Bitton, Gamboa, Mackay-Steven, Bailly, Aitchison, Eboue. 10.44am BST Celtic are going to win the Scottish Premiership. It’ll be their sixth title in a row, so they’ll be two-thirds on the way to replicating the second greatest achievement of the Jock Stein era. We’ve known they’re going to claim this title for some time now. The only question left is: will they claim it today?All signs point to yes! The required win away at Heart of Midlothian would be a tall order for most teams - Hearts have only lost twice in the league all season - but this Celtic side are not most teams. They’re a relentless force of nature. In 29 league games to date, only Inverness Caledonian Thistle and 38-year-old Clint Hill have managed to stop them registering victories. Take your pick for the Scottish player of the season: Moussa Dembélé, Stuart Armstrong, Kieran Tierney, Craig Gordon, Scott Brown, Scott Sinclair. And as for manager of the year? Well, Derek McInnes continues to do a fine job at Ab. no, c’mon. Top work, Brendan. God speed, Hearts! Continue readingreadfullarticle

Source: TheGuardian