Georgios Samaras grabs winner again to send Celtic back to summit

Celtic 1 Heart of Midlothian 0

Parkhead

Georgios Samaras fired his second match-winning goal of the week to send Celtic back to the top of the Scottish Premier League. The Greek forward converted a through ball from Kris Commons, who again was at the heart of all their best play, and Celtic comfortably saw out the win even though their performance failed to match the spark of their maiden Champions League away win against Spartak Moscow.

Celtic, who had been knocked off top spot briefly by Hibernian, were without Scott Brown, who continues to battle a hip problem, and lost his Scotland team-mate Charlie Mulgrew in the first half after an early collision with Hearts goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald, who was carried off with a neck injury.

MacDonald was on the park long enough to force wide Mulgrew's shot. But there were immediate signals he would be unable to continue after he bravely attacked Emilio Izaguirre's cross to punch the ball away from a crowd of players before Commons and James Forrest failed to convert the loose ball. The goalkeeper was taken off in the 13th minute wearing a neck brace, Peter Enckelman taking his place.

Mulgrew played on, but only temporarily. He left the field, apparently concussed, after 32 minutes and handed the captain's armband to Samaras, who took just two minutes to embrace his new responsibility with what was to prove the only goal. Commons was the provider with a pass with the outside of his foot into the left channel; the Greece striker ran on to it and fired a left-foot shot through the legs of Enckelman.

Hearts, for whom Callum Paterson had missed a great chance to give them an early lead, posed a threat mainly from distance. Andrew Driver had a long-range effort deflected wide, Ryan Stevenson went close and Fraser Forster tipped over Mehdi Taouil's powerful strike. The visitors penned Celtic in their own half for long spells in the second half without creating any chances before Hoops manager Neil Lennon made a change in the 70th minute, replacing Hooper with Beram Kayal and switching formation from 4-4-1-1 to 4-3-3.

The tactical change almost brought instant reward with Commons firing just over the top corner after good skill in the box. Enckelman then saved from Izaguirre and two further chances fell to Samaras before Celtic survived a last-gasp scare when Driver shot just wide.

 



Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence