Soccer

Celtic vs Hearts preview: Leaders travel to Celtic Park for crunch clash

Craig Levein has urged Hearts to “cut out the errors” when they face Celtic in a top-of-the-table clash in the Scottish Premiership on Saturday.

Hearts travel to Glasgow having lost 3-0 to Celtic in the Scottish League Cup semi-finals last weekend.

Hearts currently lead the Scottish Premiership by four points from Celtic, who have a game in hand and have won their last four league matches in a row.

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Levein says his side, who were involved in a heated draw with Edinburgh rivals Hibernian in midweek, need to be on top of their game if they are going to win.

“There’s no doubt that making mistakes against good teams is not a good idea,” said the Hearts manager.

“We’ve done that in two high profile matches recently. Cutting out the errors is obviously something that gives us a better chance of winning.

“But we’re human beings, aren’t we? Sometimes people do silly things. Against the better teams you tend to get punished for it. Sometimes when you’re playing opposition at not quite the same standard you can get away with it.

“We need to cut down the mistakes, we need to be diligent in our work and we need to take any opportunities that come our way.”

Hearts beat Celtic 1-0 in the league in August, but that was the only time the Jambos have avoided defeat in the last eight meetings against the champions.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers said: “We had a tough game last week, a really good game, but as always it will be tough.

“But we are looking forward to playing at home. It will be a full house, the pitch will be magnificent and we look forward to keeping our momentum going.”

Team news

Celtic midfielder Eboue Kouassi is out for the rest of the season because of a knee injury, with on-loan winger Daniel Arzani set to join him on the sidelines with a similar problem as he awaits final scan results.

Youssouf Mulumbu is back in training after recovering from a knock but this match comes too soon for the midfielder.

Jozo Simunovic, Cristian Gamboa, Scott Brown and Leigh Griffiths remain out with various ailments.

Hearts team news to follow

Opta stats

  • Celtic have won 14 of their last 15 home league games against Hearts, drawing the other 0-0 in September 2015.
  • Hearts have won two of their last four league meetings with Celtic (L2), as many as their previous 25 combined (W2 D2 L21), and could win back-to-back league games against the Hoops for the first time since August 2006.
  • Celtic’s current four-game winning run is the best ongoing run in the Scottish Premiership.
  • Hearts have won more games (four) and picked up more points (12) away from home than any other side in this season’s Scottish Premiership, doing so in just five games.
  • Scott Sinclair has been directly involved in 10 goals in just nine league games against Hearts for Celtic (eight goals, two assists), despite only starting six of those matches.

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