A good number of us managed to avoid a panicked reaction after the defeat to Midtjylland on Wednesday. That position can under stress on Saturday evening. Despite making Hearts look every inch a promoted side who were unable to pass the ball, Celtic again lost to a team with a fraction of their resources. It was a soft capitulation.
Carl Starfelt endured a nightmare debut. Skinned by Ginnelly in the build up to the first goal, he tried to make amends but only succeeded in surrendering his position goal-side of Liam Boyce. Boyce continued to torment the central defender for the rest of the game.
Hearts winner was a textbook copy of Midtjylland’s opener on Wednesday. An angled free kick into the box should have been met by a Celtic defender before it dropped enough for an attacker to make contact but John Souttar had freedom of the Celtic area to choose his spot.
Anthony Ralston earlier looked to have set Celtic straight with a sublime goal that, like Callum McGregor’s on Wednesday, deserved a better result.
Bobby Madden should have red carded Andy Halliday for an uncontrolled lunge that ended with his studs in Callum McGregor’s ankle, but the referee chose to caution the player instead. Liel Abada made another perfectly timed run into the box to score but Greg Taylor was adjudged offside. The decision was generous to the home side.
It hardly needs saying that Starfelt will get better. Christopher Jullien took weeks to settle into Celtic in less stressful times. Kyogo Furuhashi was given the closing 11 minutes but was unable to make an impact.
Ange Postecoglou has two days on the training field with the players to practice attacking the ball when defending set pieces before they fly to Jablonec. If he is to effect a remarkable recovery this season, it has to start soon.