Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou hails forwards after Hearts win

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou was delighted to see his two strikers back in net, promising Giorgos Giakoumakis his chance to start would present itself.

substitute Giakoumakis scored his second goal in four substitute appearances this season to cap off a 2-0 win over Hearts in stoppage time that sent Celtic two points clear of Rangers in the Premiership.

Kyogo Furuhashi was given the nod for the centre-forward role each time and scored his third goal of the season to open the scoring in the 13th minute.

Postecoglou said, “I appreciate them wherever they come from, but it’s great that they both achieved their goals. Both work hard in training, they are both quality strikers.

“Some of our serves weren’t great today in the final third, but we know if we get the ball in those areas they’re both really good finishers and have a real presence in the penalty area. in different ways, in different styles.”

Giakoumakis shows no signs of frustration with his current role as a substitute – as well as his goal and another shot which was saved late, he pulled back 30 yards to collect the ball from Barrie McKay deep in his own half .

“They are non-negotiable for our football club,” Postecoglou said. “It’s the team we want to be and the boys have bought into it. Whether they start or not, they know that’s what they need to bring.

“I have two quality strikers who both deserve to start, but I know what’s coming and they’ll both get plenty of playing time.

“The important thing is that they both feel good about themselves, they both score goals which is great, and we’re both going to need them.”

Although Hearts didn’t get a shot on target, they had a few decent possession spells and were never under the cosh.

About the game, Postecoglou said, “It was okay, it probably wasn’t as smooth as I would like a football game to be.

“I felt like it was a lot of stop-start and not a lot of consistent pace in the game. Some of it was our doing, but just one of those games where we didn’t feel like we could open up and play our football.

“But the players maintained their discipline and got a great win. We just had to fight our way through and we did. I don’t think Joe (Hart) really had a save to make.

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson was frustrated that Alex Cochrane and Toby Sibbick received the second yellow cards in the closing stages as his side finished with nine men.

Neilson, who has seen three other players booked by Kevin Clancy, said: “When you come here you need strong referees and if you don’t understand that it can sometimes be difficult.

“We committed 11 fouls and got two red cards and five bookings. Celtic made 12 fouls and got nothing.

“That’s the difficulty when you come to Glasgow, you need that strength, and I don’t think we had it.”

Neilson has made seven changes to his starting line-up with the Europa League play-off second leg in mind against Zurich.

“I was very proud of the players,” he said. “We made a number of changes and it showed the strength of the squad that the guys came in and matched Celtic for long spells and created a number of chances.

“If it hadn’t been for two red cards, we could have potentially taken something out of the game.”

Craig Gordon and Stephen Kingsley will recover quickly from minor injuries that kept them sidelined, but Craig Halkett will miss Thursday’s European game with a hamstring injury.

“It’s just short term, but I don’t think he’ll do on Thursday,” Neilson said. “It might be another week after that potentially.”

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