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Preview: Celtic vs. Hearts – prediction, team news, lineups



Celtic play host to Hearts on Saturday afternoon looking for the win that will move them a step closer to defending their Scottish Premiership title. Meanwhile, Hearts make the trip to Glasgow eager to strengthen their hold of third position in the standings after an impressive campaign.

Given Rangers’ recent struggles, it would come as a major surprise if Celtic failed to successfully defend their top-flight crown over the coming weeks.

However, the gap to their Old Firm rivals remains at just three points despite successive victories over St Mirren and Dundee.

Brendan Rodgers‘s side had to see out the final 16 minutes in the latter to seal an important 2-1 win, keeping their fate very much in their own hands.

Celtic also have three of their final four fixtures at Celtic Park, their only away game coming at fourth-placed Kilmarnock.

Nevertheless, in their most recent 17 matches in the Scottish Premiership, Celtic have only suffered two defeats, both of which have been against Hearts.

Steven Naismith‘s side are all but assured of ending this campaign in third position after a terrific 62-point haul from their 33 matches.

Only prevailing in three of their last eight matches comes as a frustration to everyone associated with the Edinburgh-based outfit, yet they remain on a four-game undefeated streak.

Hearts have recorded back-to-back victories over Celtic, one encounter apiece being home and away. Preceding that, Celtic had won the previous 10 matches.

With Rangers to come at Tynecastle on the final weekend of 2023-24, Naismith and his players can have a direct impact on the destination of the league title.


Celtic Scottish Premiership form:


Celtic form (all competitions):


Hearts Scottish Premiership form:


Hearts form (all competitions):


Team News

Hearts manager Steven Naismith reacts on October 29, 2023© Reuters

Barring any fresh injury issues, Rodgers could select the same Celtic XI which started the win at Dundee.

Even if Daizen Maeda is able to make an early return from a hamstring injury, he is likely to be restricted to an appearance from the substitutes’ bench.

Adam Idah should also find himself kept in reserve, even though the Republic of Ireland international replaced Kyogo Furuhashi after 62 minutes last time out.

Hearts will assess the fitness of Beni Baningime after the midfielder needed to be withdrawn against Kilmarnock having felt unwell.

Macauley Tait is on standby to come into the engine room, but Naismith may opt to retain the rest of his starting lineup.

Celtic possible starting lineup:
Hart; Johnston, Carter-Vickers, Scales, Taylor; O’Riley, McGregor, Hatate; Kuhn, Furuhashi, Forrest

Hearts possible starting lineup:
Clark; Kingsley, Kent, Rowles; Lembikisa, Devlin, Baningime, Grant, Cochrane; Shankland, Vargas


Games such as this one mean that Celtic will not get carried away in the title race, and it should sharpen their focus. Hearts have the qualities to earn a result at Celtic Park, yet we feel that the leaders will produce one of their most professional performances of the campaign to seal three points.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.



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