Football Predictions

Hearts v Celtic predictions, preview and expected XIs

By Harry Edwards

Published: 17:12, 23 May 2019

Celtic will be looking to cap off another domestic treble when they face Hearts in the Scottish Cup final on Saturday.

The Bhoys have already confirmed the Scottish League Cup and Premiership, despite going through mid-season turmoil in losing manager Brendan Rodgers. Meanwhile, Hearts are looking for a first major trophy since 2012 when they won the Scottish Cup.

Read on for Hearts v Celtic live stream options, team news, predicted XIs, stats and TV channel info.

When is Hearts vs Celtic?

Competition: Scottish Cup

Venue: Hampden Park

Date: Saturday, 25 May

Kick-off: 3:00 PM BST

Where can I watch live?

UK residents will be able to watch the Scottish Cup final on Premier Sports 1, channel 412 on Sky and channel 551 for Virgin Media users. The game will also be broadcast on BBC One Scotland, channel 101 on Sky for people in Scotland and 951 for those outside, while Virgin Media users can find the channels on 101 in Scotland and 862 otherwise. Premier Sport subscribers can also watch the game online at www.premierplayer.tv.

Head-to-head

A fixture which dates back to 1890, Celtic and Hearts have faced each other 363 times including five matches this season. Celtic have come out on top in four of those five games this term, taking their total tally to 203. In contrast Hearts have managed 86 victories including their most recent win in August 2018.

Hearts wins: 86 Draws: 74 Celtic wins: 203

Match preview

While in England, Manchester City are celebrating a first ever men’s domestic treble, north of the border Celtic are looking to wrap up their sixth.

First achieved in 1967, Celtic are currently just one of eight clubs in the world to have won more than one domestic treble  – having won no more, or no less than three trophies.

But perhaps more remarkable – and indicative of Celtic’s recent domination of Scottish football – is that Neil Lennon’s men will also be looking to secure a third domestic treble in a row, after winning the lot in 2017 and 2018, led by Rodgers who left earlier this season.

A win on Saturday would see Celtic move one treble behind rivals Rangers, who lead the way with seven, won between 1949 and 2003.

But the game is not just about Celtic; Hearts have their season resting on Saturday’s final. A good start to the season, which saw Hearts win six and draw one of their seven opening Premier League games, has long been forgotten, with the Jam Tarts finishing sixth overall.

Yet it could all be forgotten with a win, sending Hearts into the first qualifying round of the Europa League at the expense of Aberdeen – who would benefit should Celtic win.

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Is this Neil Lennon’s final game?

Despite helping Celtic see off competition from Rangers to win the Scottish Premiership and leading the Bhoys to another Scottish Cup final, Neil Lennon’s brief spell at the club could be up.

Previously managing Celtic between 2010 and 2014, when he won two league titles, Lennon returned in February 2019 to replace Rodgers, who left for the vacant Leicester City role.

Although Celtic are in a commanding position in Scottish football, Lennon still had a big job to do in keeping the squad on task despite seeing their manager leaving mid-season.

This is something Lennon has done very well, but the Northern Irishman could find himself out of a job this summer even if he does help Celtic complete the treble treble.

Remarkably, former Manchester United and Celtic midfielder Roy Keane has been tipped to replace Lennon in charge – though David Moyes remains the favourite as things stand.

But if Celtic do indeed opt against sticking with Lennon, they may risk upsetting the likes of Kieran Tierney, who has come out in support of his caretaker boss.

“We wouldn’t have won the league or been in this position without him,” he said recently.

“He’s been great for us since he came in. He’s steadied us when we needed it.

“That has been so important, it has been so crucial for us.”

What has happened to Hearts?

After the start they had, some Hearts fans may be more than annoyed that their European hopes rest on Saturday’s cup final. After 13 league games, Hearts led the Premiership on 26 points, one clear of Celtic – who had two games in hand.

But in the following 25 games of the season, they amassed just 25 points, finishing sixth and actually ending up with fewer points than seventh-placed St Johnstone – only above due to the league split. So what actually went wrong?

In short, Hearts have had torrid luck with injury problems across key parts of the season. The biggest loss has been Steven Naismith, who has had two separate lay-offs due to knee injuries which required surgery, causing him to be absent since February. But despite his long absence, Naismith remains Hearts’ top scorer in the league with 10 goals – five more than Peter Haring, the second-highest.

Since Naismith’s season-ending injury in February, Hearts have scored eight goals in 10 league games, a run which has brought seven defeats including four out of five post-split.

Team news

Hearts midfielder Peter Harings has declared himself fit to face Celtic this weekend, after missing the past five league games with a groin injury. However, Olly Lee will miss the final after twisting his knee in last weekend’s league defeat to Celtic.

Meanwhile Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney has also declared himself fit for the cup final, despite suffering with a double hernia problem which will see him miss Scotland’s Euro 2020 qualifiers in June due to surgery. Lennon has revealed 16-year-old Karamoko Dembele remains in contention for the final after making his debut in the league win over Hearts last weekend.

Predicted Line-ups

1. Celtic to return to full-strength

With the Premiership secured and one eye on this weekend’s cup final, Lennon fielded a rotated team to end the league season against Hearts last time out. As a result, Celtic’s key men should be back, fit and fresh for Saturday’s game with Keiran Tierney also returning the back-line alongside Mikael Lustig, Kristoffer Ajer and Jozo Simunovic.

Further forward, Scott Brown and Callum McGregor will provide the defensive shield, with James Forrest, Tom Rogic and Scott Sinclair playing behind Odsonne Edouard.

Predicted Celtic XI (4-2-3-1): Bain; Lustig, Simunovic, Ajer, Tierney; Brown, McGregor; Forrest, Rogic, Sinclair; Edouard.

2. Harings to recover in time

Hearts go into Saturday’s final having taken a big hit in their last game against Celtic, with Olly Lee out. But they should be buoyed by the return on Peter Harings who will take his place in midfield.

After missing the final game of the Premiership season, there should also be a return in defence for captain Christophe Berra, lining up alongside centre-back partner John Souttar.

Up front, Hearts have few fit options, which means midfielder Sean Clare could partner veteran Steven MacLean.

Predicted Hearts XI (4-4-2): Zlamal; Smith, Souttar, Berra, Burns; Smith, Irving, Harings, Mulraney; MacLean, Clare.

Squawka Prediction

Celtic ended the Premiership season on a high by beating Hearts last weekend, and their party should continue a week later to cap off a treble treble. 2-1 Celtic.