Celtic came from behind to defeat third-placed Hearts 3-1 and maintain their nine-point lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership.

Daizen Maeda's 10th goal of the season cancelled out Josh Ginnelly's headed opener before Kyogo Furuhashi bagged his quarter-century with a powerful left-footed effort. Substitute Sead Haksabanovic added the gloss to the scoreline with a late pearler.

With three games coming in the space of a week, Ange Postecoglou rang the changes for this one and said afterwards a less-than-fluid performance could be pinned on that. The Hoops certainly hustled, though, and scored three goals of impressive quality to settle the game in their favour regardless.

There were four changes in total with Anthony Ralston, Alexandro Bernabei, Matt O'Riley and Liel Abada all starting in place of Alistair Johnston, Greg Taylor, Reo Hatate and Jota.

The Celtic boss used all five of his available substitutes during the game too. The first was enforced when goalscorer Maeda went off injured after half an hour; Jota replaced him while Haksabanovic, Hatate, Tomoki Iwata and Oh Hyeon-gyu all saw game-time from the bench.

Here, The Celtic Way rounds up the best StatsBomb data from the game to give you a match report like no other...


That assessment holds true and is also an uncommon occurrence; Ginnelly's goal is the first Celtic have conceded in the league from open play within the first 10 minutes of a match this season.

It was also Hearts' first and best chance of the match at 0.44 xG, a value that accounted for almost 63 per cent of the Jambos' total xG.

Indeed, the visitors only managed another two opportunities before the break before experiencing a long drought until a pair of attempts in the 81st minute, by which time they were 2-1 down.

Settling down and taking control did happen - but in terms of creating chances it took Celtic until the 22nd minute when Abada fired wide.

Thereafter Celtic found something akin to their groove with two high-quality chances in  a row - one of which was Maeda's equaliser - as well as a clutch of other opportunities before the half was over.

After the break they were not as slow out of the blocks and throughout the second half were good for taking three attempts for every one Hearts managed.

Pictured: The sequence that led to Maeda's goal

Statistically, the 'best' chance of the game was Maeda's goal at 0.67 xG. Ginnelly's followed with Kyogo's 24th-minute miss (0.35) rounding off the top three.

StatsBomb notes that the final cumulative xG totals stood at 1.73-0.70 in Celtic's favour; another clinical display in front of goal, which Postecoglou paid specific tribute to afterwards by saying: "The highlight of our game was the quality of goals - I thought we scored three great goals."

Our data provider gave Hearts just an 11 per cent chance of victory based on the opportunities each side created.


The champions generated 11 shots in total, considerably below their average of 17 per game domestically this term and making Hearts only the second opponent outside of Rangers to restrict Celtic to that number of attempts or fewer twice.

Still, the champions scored three from the four they got on target. Five of their attempts missed while two were blocked. Zander Clark made one save.

Celtic managed to create nine chances inside the Hearts box, including all three of their goals. Four attempts were created in the optimum close, central danger zone with three classified as mid-to-high-quality xG.

Likewise, nine of the 11 efforts were generated from open play with the other two coming as a result of corners.

The visiting side managed five shots in total with three coming in the Celtic box and two manufactured in close, central areas. All five were from open play, three found the target, one missed and one was blocked. Joe Hart made two saves.

Individually, Kyogo and Jota tied for most shots with two apiece. The former's pair carried a much higher xG value than his team-mates. No Hearts player managed more than one attempt.

Passing, possession & positions

Celtic enjoyed 70 per cent possession - almost bang on their league average this term - and completed 698 of 796 pass attempts for a second successive 88 per cent success rate. The Jambos managed 241 successful passes from 347 attempts (69 per cent completion).

The pass network below gives a sense of where the game was played and who was most involved. The warmer the colour the more influential the player, while the thicker the passing lines the more passes between the players.

StatsBomb measures pass contributions in on-ball value (often referred to as OBV, a term breakdown can be read here).

Four starting players shine through with dark red nodes in this one: centre-back Carl Starfelt, left-back Bernabei, captain Callum McGregor and unsurprisingly centre forward Kyogo. 

Kyogo - with 46 touches and just three passes - was the standout in OBV return with 0.41. McGregor and Bernabei rounded out the top three in that metric when it came to starters.

Also reflected in the starting XI network are the relatively quiet evenings from Ralston, Abada and O'Riley while, in the second half, Haksabanovic's influence was the standout contribution from the substitutes. 

Celtic Way:

Indeed the Montenegrin's OBV return for the time he was on the pitch was enough to place him second behind Kyogo match-wide. It is no surprise, then, that Postecoglou was full of praise for him afterwards.

"He was brilliant," the manager said of Haksabanovic. "He has got that quality... Every time he has been called upon he has been excellent.

"He has a great attitude at training and it was great for him to get a reward. He is another player who can give us more - and he will."

Carter-Vickers and Ralston tied for most touches in the match with 249 each but it was the other two defenders - Starfelt and Bernabei - who occupied the top two spots in the xGChain.

Hearts' first half versus second half network, pictured above, is demonstrative both of their back three/five setup but also that they were far more active in getting Ginnelly involved in the opening 45 and went into a shell somewhat after the break when it was Yutaro Oda ostensibly leading the line.

Andy Halliday was Hearts' best performer in terms of OBV (0.21) while Ginnelly, Alan Forrest, Clark, Kye Rowles and Nathaniel Atkinson also returned positive scores.

For the second Premiership match in a row, seven different Celts played at least one key pass. Mooy led the way on this occasion with a match-high three, although Kyogo's singular assist carried a higher xG Assisted value than the Australian's trio combined.

Four Hearts players played a key pass, including Halliday's assist for the opening goal.

Pressing and defending

Celtic made just 114 pressures to Hearts' 175 but made seven more pressure regains. The most intense battleground was the right flanks but of particular note is the level of pressing actions in the centre of the park too.

Hearts players populate the upper echelons of the rankings when it comes to individual pressing - Orestis Kiomourtzoglou tops the lot with 30 - while O'Riley was Celtic's leader with 16.

Six other Celts racked up 10 or more with Bernabei ranking highest for total pressing duration. The Argentinian was also the team's most persistent counter-presser. In fact, the Hoops' top five pressers - Bernabei, O'Riley, Abada, McGregor and Kyogo - were also their top five counter-pressers albeit in a slightly different order.

Pictured: The Celtic back four's combined defensive actions map

In the traditional defensive metrics Bernabei's five tackles, three interceptions, three clearances and four aerial wins stood out. The 22-year-old was, however, dribbled past twice and gave away one foul.

Elsewhere, Carter-Vickers went unbeaten in the air once again (winning five from five aerial duels) while it was a mixed evening defensively for Ralston with a tackle, two clearances, two aerial wins and not being actively dribbled past but a match-high three fouls on his record too.