Jon McLaughlin has questioned Celtic’s invincible status while pointing out they are far from Manchester City’s level of superiority.
The goalkeeper will be in the firing line for Hearts against Celtic at Tynecastle on Sunday as the champions seek to make it 70 unbeaten domestic games in a row. McLaughlin noted Celtic’s less convincing displays in recent weeks – they have been held to draws by Hibs and Motherwell, and been beaten by Anderlecht and Paris-Saint-Germain in the Champions League – and he compared this to Manchester City’s run of 15 successive league wins in England.
“No-one is looking at their [Celtic’s] defeats in Europe and thinking, ‘ah, that’s how we’ll do it’,” he said. “With the calibre of teams they’re playing there, there’s certainly no embarrassment there.
“But they’ve been drawing quite a few games over this run. It’s not like Man City, where they are putting everyone to the sword by three or four every week. There have been tight games and ones where they’ve almost thrown it away, ones where they’ve had to claw it back real late. So there is certainly not the invincible tag there that maybe there is with others.”
McLaughlin believes Hearts can take advantage of Celtic’s determination to reach another round number in a record-breaking run stretching back to the end of the 2015-16 season.
“The pressure is on them, not us,” said McLaughlin who has kept two clean sheets in successive wins for Hearts. “The expectations from everyone is that Celtic are going to be the dominant team. They’ve got this run going. When they’re playing in Scotland, they don’t lose. But we know that we’ve got a couple of wins under our belt, to at least take a bit of pressure off ourselves. It’s one to go and enjoy at the end of the day and if you can be the one to do it then it’s a huge feather in the hat and we’d enjoy that.”