The off-field histrionics that a visit to Tynecastle invariably brings is of little interest today. For now, don’t really care about the history of this fixture or the disposition of the natives. Such matters pale into insignificance beside the three points on offer to the team who have won 14 consecutive games in domestic football, a run that extends back to October.
Neil Lennon and his players will let others worry about life’s dramas, the likely influence of Hearts fifth winding-up order, served this week, the “political situation” that has a bearing on Hearts team selection, or even the 2-0 defeat at the same venue four months ago. They will instead focus on how to deliver a disciplined performance against a team who have recorded unlikely highs and lows this season.
10-man Hearts put five goals past St Mirren last month but were lucky to leave Tynecastle with a draw against 10-man St Johnstone at the weekend after Cillian Sheridan ran them ragged. They are neck-and-neck with St Johnstone in the league, both of whom have slipped six points behind Motherwell in the chase for what may yet become a Champions League spot.
The biggest decision for Neil Lennon may be in defence. Celtic have lost only two league goals in their last nine outings (they lost 12 in the previous nine), which has been crucial in their push to the top of the league. This has seen opportunities for now-fit Kelvin Wilson limited. Kelvin played a full 90 minutes in the Scottish Cup against Inverness on Saturday and will give the manager a decision to make.
Happy Birthday to Martin42, 70 years of refusing to take life too seriously. A win tonight would give us a better birthday reference point than the cold and miserable night at Celtic Park 12 years ago.
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