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Scottish Premiership

Another loss for Celtic blows the title race wide open

Published on December 17, 2023
Updated on December 18, 2023
Written by Chris

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Another loss for Celtic blows the title race wide open
  • Hearts win at Celtic Park
  • Hoops lose 52-match unbeaten home record
  • Rodgers under pressure as Celtic suffer consecutive league defeats for first time in a decade

Celtic’s 52-game unbeaten league home run came to an end as Hearts secured a 2-0 victory, dealing the champions back-to-back Scottish Premiership defeats for the first time in over a decade.

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Stuttering Celtic open the door for Rangers

Brendan Rodgers’ league-leading Celtic couldn’t recover from their previous loss to Kilmarnock, providing Rangers with an opportunity to overtake them in the table if they win their two games in hand.

Hearts took an early lead when Lawrence Shankland headed in a corner at the back post after 15 minutes. By the half-hour mark, Stephen Kingsley doubled their advantage with a free-kick, marking his first goal in 20 months.

Celtic struggled to mount a response, leading to disappointment among their supporters who voiced their discontent as the players were booed off at full-time. Hearts, ending a 14-year winless streak at Celtic, climbed to third place after overcoming a recent run of two defeats.

Hearts’ victory provided a positive conclusion to a challenging week for manager Steven Naismith, who faced criticism at the club’s annual general meeting.

The home side had an early threat with Greg Taylor’s powerful first-time strike from 25 yards, which was pushed over. However, Hearts capitalised on set pieces, with Jorge Grant delivering a deep corner that found Shankland unmarked, securing his 13th goal for Hearts this season with a header into the roof of the net.

Betting Implications

Celtic remain favourites to win the Scottish Premiership, however, the bookies feel that there is very little to choose between them and Rangers. If Rangers win their games in hand they will be top of the table, but many feel that Celtic have slightly more quality which will see them through over the season. At the time of writing, BetUK have Celtic at 4/5 and Rangers at 9/10. 

Bettors need to look at the form of the two teams and see how the next few weeks go. Both sides have stuttered this season, however, there seems to be more positivity around Rangers since the arrival of Phillipe Clement. This weekend the Ibrox club secured the first trophy of the season with a victory over Aberdeen in the Scottish League Cup final. The two sides meet at Celtic Park on January 30.

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For the Old Firm match at Celtic Park on January 30 check out our guide.

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Chris is a former athlete and a qualified PE teacher. He is a keen football fan, watching many matches at different levels throughout the season, and enjoys following many different sports. With betting and sports sites, he has a keen eye for detail and can to highlight positives and negatives for users. His experience in sport as a performer, teacher, writer and fan allows him to see things from many different perspectives. Editorial Promise