Celtic v Hearts: Journalists’ predictions for top of the table clash

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We asked four of our football writers for their thoughts and predictions ahead of the game of the weekend in the Ladbrokes Premiership. Here’s what they had to say ...

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Hearts and Celtic will meet again for the second time in a week after Sunday's Betfred Cup semi-final. Picture: SNS

Hearts and Celtic will meet again for the second time in a week after Sunday's Betfred Cup semi-final. Picture: SNS

Stephen Halliday: Celtic 3 Hearts 0

“Brendan Rodgers and his players have rediscovered the zest which deserted them at the start of the season and have their sights firmly fixed on reeling in early pacesetters Hearts at the top of the Premiership. After their League Cup semi-final success last weekend, a similarly convincing win for the champions over Craig Levein’s injury-hit side appears likely.”

Patrick McPartlin: Celtic 3 Hearts 1

“As evidenced by their performance in the Betfred Cup semi-final and the 5-0 win over Dundee in midweek, Celtic appear to have rediscovered their mojo. The likes of Tom Rogic and James Forrest can conjure goals out of nothing while Scott Sinclair is looking more and like his former self. The emergence of Ryan Christie, too, has given Celtic an extra attacking dimension and while Hearts look to have a solid defence despite injuries to Christophe Berra and John Souttar, Rodgers’ side will likely be far too strong. The Hoops defence is always prone to shenanigans so the Jambos may well sneak a goal - but I can’t see past a comfortable Celtic win.”

Craig Fowler: Celtic 1 Hearts 0

“While a heavy-sided Celtic victory wouldn’t be out of the question given recent form, the Hearts defence has remained solid despite injuries to each of the first-choice centre-backs. As poor as Hearts were in the semi, the goals they conceded were a daft penalty given away by a midfielder, a goalkeeping error (the first this season from the excellent Zdenek Zlamal) and a terrific strike. In the semi they seemed to be caught in two minds over how to approach Rodgers’ side, but in this one the team will be dead set on frustrating their hosts. However, Celtic’s superior quality will still see them through.”

Andrew Smith: Celtic 2 Hearts 0

“Achieving a run of five straight league wins for the first time since April/May 2017 should hardly prove beyond a free-scoring Celtic when hosting a Hearts side hit heavily by injuries to key players. Yet, the only thought in Craig Levein’s head as he sets out his team tomorrow will be how best to suffocate the game and so steal a point. That could result in damage limitation for the Tynecastle men, at least.”