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Controversial Kyogo Furuhashi goal earns Celtic narrow victory over Hearts

By December 2, 2021No Comments

A controversial goal from Kyogo Furuhashi was enough to give Celtic victory over Hearts in a close encounter at Parkhead.

The Japan forward looked like he might be marginally offside as he converted Anthony Ralston’s cross in the 33rd minute but Bobby Madden and his officials gave the goal.

Celtic had other chances but Hearts came back strongly after the break with Barrie McKay causing a number of problems before missing an excellent late chance in an exciting finale.

The 1-0 victory took Celtic back to four points behind Rangers after the leaders won by the same score against Hibernian 24 hours earlier following a much-debated penalty award.

Celtic had Carl Starfelt and Tom Rogic back in the team following injury while James Forrest also came in. Defender Cameron Carter-Vickers was missing because of a personal issue and Jota and Stephen Welsh both went off injured in the second half.

Hearts made four changes with Andy Halliday and the injured Beni Baningime among those dropping out. Josh Ginnelly replaced Liam Boyce up front as Robbie Neilson looked for pace to cause Celtic problems with attacking midfielders Ben Woodburn, Aaron McEneff and McKay also starting ahead of a back four.

Celtic started brightly. Starfelt headed wide before Hearts had a huge let-off after David Turnbull robbed Cammy Devlin. Craig Gordon spilled Jota’s resulting shot but Forrest stabbed the loose ball against the post from close range.

Jota twice shot over the bar from outside the box, Ralston was too high from a half chance and Gordon tipped Callum McGregor’s deflected effort wide.

Hearts were attacking when they could and Joe Hart was called into action when Craig Halkett got a shot away following Stephen Kingsley’s free-kick.

The opener came after Ralston ran round the outside of Rogic and drilled in a cross which Furuhashi turned home at the near post. The Japan international was ahead of the Hearts defence and replays suggested he was also slightly ahead of Ralston when the right-back struck the cross, but offside appeals went unheeded.

Ralston was injured in the process and soon went off for Adam Montgomery, with Juranovic swapping flanks.

Turnbull had several shots diverted behind after the interval, one after a sweeping and silky counter-attack.

Hearts defender Kingsley had a brilliant chance when he ran untracked to the near post to meet McKay’s corner but he cut his header too thinly and it flashed beyond the far post.

Juranovic shot over from a decent chance but Hearts kept threatening.

McKay had an effort saved and set up both Boyce and Halkett for chances, the former fluffing his first opportunity and the defender heading wide. The former Rangers winger set up the second chance while dodging missiles from the standing section behind him.

Celtic lost Jota and Welsh in quick succession. Nir Bitton came on in central defence before Jota’s replacement, Mikey Johnston, came close with a strike that Furuhashi almost turned in.

Forrest had a great chance to settle matters in the 84th minute when he was played in by Furuhashi but Gordon saved and Hearts were soon away on the counter-attack.

Substitute Gary Mackay-Steven looked set to score but he stumbled and McKay shot just wide from the loose ball with Hart stranded.

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson was booked as he remonstrated with the officials, claiming Mackay-Steven had his heel clipped.

Turnbull had a shot diverted inches wide in stoppage-time and Celtic saw out the remainder of the game in the Hearts half.