An aspect of football is so ineffective it is increasingly abandoned as a strategy. When facing Celtic, however, corner kicks are routinely delivered into the heart of the box, providing a remarkably successful return.
If the reason Alistair Johnston was hooked at halftime yesterday was because he lost his man at the opening Hearts goal, I fully support the decision. We are beyond the moment of encouraging, or even harsh words. The second goal was equally as poor. Marooned – both the colour displayed at the end of the game and Joe Hart’s position at the Hearts free kick. The wall did not rise, as a well-placed but stoppable kick sailed into the net.
Not that we should scapegoat Alistair or Joe. All five players deployed on the wing were ineffective. Kyogo was picked out by one early ball and made Celtic’s best chance of the game (Palma was blocked), Oh huffed and puffed but offered little more.
Brendan Rodgers looks like he is out of ideas. Swapping Luis Palma for Alexi Bernabei didn’t work. He was then faced with the choice of either hooking Alexi or weakening his defence by subbing Greg Taylor to allow James Forrest a run at the left wing.
A week about we concluded that Kilmarnock bullied Celtic. Yesterday it felt more like Hearts were simply able to impose themselves on the hosts. The evidence mounts that this is a soft Celtic team.