Sunday 26 March 2017

Keane fails to fire as Celtic close gap on Rangers to eight points

Matt Hughes

Celtic scored two goals in a minute after the break against Hearts at Parkhead to close the gap on Rangers at the top of the SPL to eight points.

After a frustrating first half, defender Glenn Loovens drove the home side ahead four minutes into the second period and around 60 seconds later striker Marc-Antoine Fortune slipped the ball past Jambos 'keeper Marian Kello for number two.

Robbie Keane missed a host of chances to score his first goal in front of the Celtic support as the home side cruised the second half but there was no harm done.

"On another night he could have scored three or four goals." said his manager Tony Mowbray. "Somewhere along the way somebody will feel the evidence of that, the quality he possesses to get in to those goal scoring positions."

But with Rangers drawing 1-1 at Motherwell, the Hoops nudged closer to their Ibrox rivals.

In the eighth minute Keane had the first chance of the game when he beat the offside trap to race onto a long Josh Thompson pass, but he blasted his angled volley in to the side-netting from 10 yards.

In the 27th minute, Kello made yet another good save when he blocked Keane's effort after the Dubliner was sent clean through on goal by Aiden McGeady.

escape

Celtic then had a narrow escape when Hearts debutant Ryan Stevenson's mis-hit shot from 30 yards was re-directed towards the Hoops' goal by the unmarked Paul Mulrooney, the ball flashing just wide of the target.

Four minutes after the restart Diomansy Kamara swung a corner over from the right and from 10 yards out Loovens had two attempts to get his shot in, the second one whistling into the net.

A minute later, with the Jambos still in disarray, McGeady sent Fortune clean through down the right channel and he drove into the box before slipping the ball past Kello. McGeady should have made it 3-0 when he was put in by Keane, but the midfielder fired wide from just inside the box.

As Hearts all but crumbled, Keane missed another chance, again from a tight angle. In the 62nd minute new signing Thomas Rogne replaced Loovens to make his Celtic debut.

It was always going to be one of those nights for Keane as he missed another two opportunities to get his first goal in front of the Parkhead crowd.

Scottish Cup quarter-final draw: Rangers or St Mirren v Dundee United, Hibernian v Ross County, Kilmarnock v Celtic, Dundee v Aberdeen or Raith Rovers.

Ties to be played over the weekend of March 13/14

Irish Independent

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