Hearts won the opening game of the league campaign against Celtic in controversial circumstances when the teams met at Tynecastle on July 31. Despite bossing the Edinburgh club in the league and League Cup at Celtic Park, Celtic won each game by a solitary goal, with Hearts finishing the stronger on both occasions. Even when we played well, created a hatful of chances and had Kyogo leading the line, we didn’t manage to decisively put Hearts away.
Of our likely starters tonight, only Greg Taylor, Nir Bitton, Carl Starfelt and (perhaps) James Forrest will have played before at Tynecastle, with its unique brand of hostility. It is doubtful Celtic have visited with fewer players of prior knowledge of the ground since 1945. And Carl’s recollections of the night will be far from affirmative.
We have watched this Celtic team grow since that night in July. Players have arrived, performances and results have improved. Without their captain and many experienced heads, new men need to become the leaders. This is a game for Carl in particular to show how far he has come since arriving in Scotland.