Champions Celtic demolish Hearts

Champions Celtic demolish Hearts
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SPL Champions Celtic demolish Hearts 5-0 to kick-start the party at Celtic Park with Gary Hooper scoring all five goals.

Super Hooper got the party started within five minutes when he netted home the opener.

Within eight minutes Hooper had tapped in his second after a great run by Georgios Samaras delivered the ball through to him.

Charlie Mulgrew almost joined the score sheet early on when his costless-kick curled round the wall forcing a save from goal keeper Jamie McDonald.

In the 25th minute Hearts made a substitution when Denis Prychynenko was brought on for Mehdi Taouil, who had already been booked for an earlier challenge on Hooper.

Hooper’s third goal came from the penalty spot in the 39th minute after Joe Ledley was tripped in the box by Arvydas Novikovas.

As the second-half got underway, Hearts still trying to get a foot-hold in the game made another change bringing on Jason Holt for Novikovas.

But Celtic started the second-half as they did the first-half, playing with a sense of purpose and continuing to dominate. The Celtic defence looked untroubled by a poor Hearts side who struggled to keep possession.

Early in the second-half Commons found himself in a dangerous position just outside the 18 yard box but was muscled off the ball which resulted in a costless-kick. Commons delivered the costless-kick in towards the back post where Samaras really should have made it four but ducked under the ball instead of heading it home.

Another chance was lost when a ball from Hooper found Commons in the box. Commons decided to have a crack at goal instead of cutting back to Samaras who had got himself into a better position.

But the Celtic fans didn’t have to wait to long and in the 66th minute the trio of Samaras, Commons and Hooper linked up again to produce goal number four. Hooper showed great composure by rounding the goal keeper and teasing the Hearts defence to tap in his fourth of the afternoon.

Celtic  made their first substitution which seen Captain Scott Brown going off to a warm applause and Beram Kayal coming on to a standing ovation. This was Kayal’s first appearance since December after he sustained an ankle injury in a game against the financially troubled Rangers. Paddy McCourt also came on to replace Joe Ledley who had been solid in the middle of the park.

Hearts never really gave the Celtic goal much to do. David Templeton’s shot on the hour went wide and never really worried Fraser Foster.

Charlie Mulgrew nearly got on the score sheet again with his shot on goal but Hooper got in the way guaranteeing a clean a sweep for him.

Anthony Stokes made an appearance with nine minutes remaining, replacing Commons.

 Paddy McCourt had been instrumental in the midfield since he came on and with three minutes of the game remaining he picked up the ball in the middle of the park, slotting it through to Adam Matthews, who ran down the right wing crossing to Samaras, who made a great pass to Hooper enabling him to seal his five star performance making it 5-0.

Moments later Hooper could have made it 6-0 as Paddy McCourt  sent a ball through  the centre of the Hearts defence, but their was to much weight on it and Hooper was unable to get on the end of it.

Hooper’s goal spree brings his tally to 29 for the season and he is now one of only three players to score five goals in an SPL game. He admitted though he could have scored more.

"I should have scored another in the first half or near the end but Paddy McCourt put too much on the pass,” he said

"My next challenge is to score six goals in one game and score more goals next season, than I did this season.”

As the celebrations got underway Neil Lennon paid tribute to the Green Brigade by taking the trophy over to their section in a gesture of appreciation of the support.

"I just wanted to say thank you to them," he said.

"Week-in, week-out, they have created a great atmosphere, they sing non-stop and add colour.

"Sometimes they are a little bit controversial but in the main they have behaved themselves impeccably and have changed the culture of the stadium.

“They have changed the culture of the stadium. It´s a fun place to come for supporters and the atmosphere over the last two years in some of the big games has been fantastic and they have been the catalyst for that.

“The noise, the singing, the pride – it’s all there now. I´m delighted with that. It was missing for a few years and I think more than anything, the fans have their pride back.”