Van Dijk hurts 10-man Hearts

Date published: Monday 24th August 2015 1:32

Van Dijk hurts 10-man Hearts

For seven minutes this Tynecastle showdown lived up to all its hype with the fans in full voice and both sets of players fired up as the runaway Championship leaders got stuck into their Glaswegian visitors currently topping the Scottish Premiership.
But a moment of madness from Morgaro Gomis changed everything as the Hearts skipper saw red after flying into Scott Brown with an ugly two-footed challenge and with Van Dijk scoring soon after, the contest was over with the Dutchman adding a second after the break, and Anthony Stokes and a controversial John Guidetti penalty compounding the misery.
The Jambos would have welcomed Celtic with happy Cup memories from 2012 when they lifted the trophy and although they suffered a 7-0 demolition at home at this stage of the competition last season, their fine run in the second tier would have ensured a buoyant spirit at the start.
Gomis suffered a couple of late challenges in the early exchanges but there was no excuse for his lunge on the Celtic captain and apart from a wasted free-kick by Alim Ozturk a few minutes after his skipper’s marching orders, they were unable to offer any further threat to Craig Gordon’s goal.
With James Keatings cutting a lonely and isolated figure upfront, Hearts were forced further and further backwards and Celtic’s patience was finally rewarded with their opener on 28 minutes.
The wilting Hearts defence struggled to clear from a corner and despite Stokes not connecting properly at an attempted cross, the ball fell to Van Dijk who smashed the ball home.
The possession was relentless from the visitors and as the interval approached, it was a miracle Celtic weren’t two goals up as Van Dijk scooped over from one yard after a low driven corner from Stokes evaded everybody.
Six minutes into the second period and Celtic doubled their lead with a Guidetti spot-kick, but it was harsh on Hearts with Brad McKay being wrongfully penalised for taking out Guidetti’s legs when there was no contact.
Hearts were incensed but worse was to come with a second goal in two minutes when Brown set up Stokes on the edge of the box to rifle in a third.
A dispirited defence switched off for Stefan Johansen’s corner and Van Dijk made it four as he leapt up brilliantly to nod in his second of the afternoon from six yards.
Substitute Kris Commons was unfortunate to have a goal ruled out having stabbed in after Neil Alexander spilled his earlier shot, while Hearts did offer some resilience with Robbie Buchanan going close with a long range shot.
But it was all too comfortable for Ronny Deila’s players with many of the Hearts fans heading for the exit early in the second half, but how different it could have been had their skipper kept his feet on the ground.

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