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A goal from Georgios Samaras seals another vital win for Celts and the manager is full of praise for his side's efforts over the past seven days

By Martin Macdonald

Georgios Samaras continued his match winning form at the weekend as he scored the solitary goal in Celtic's 1-0 Scottish Premier League win over Hearts on Sunday.

This rounded off a fantastic week for the Greek international, who was the Celtic hero last Tuesday in the Glasgow side's fantastic 3-2 away victory over Spartak Moscow in the Champions League. He was able to keep up his form on Saturday when John McGlynn's outfit visited Glasgow.

The match started at a quick pace, and the Hoops almost took the lead in just the seventh minute when Charlie Mulgrew found space at the back post, but was unable to find a way past Jamie Macdonald in the Hearts goal.

Moments later a substantial break in the match occurred due to a nasty collision between Mulgrew and Macdonald inside the box, which resulted in the Hearts man leaving the pitch on a stretcher. Thankfully, later reports emerged that Macdonald had recovered shortly afer the match.

Samaras gave Hearts a warning of things to come in the 26th minute when he peeled away to the back post and struck a half-volley off the outside of the post.

However, the deadlock was eventually broken just under 10 minutes later when Gary Hooper slid a pass down the inside left channel for Samaras who provided a turn of pace towards goal before clinically finishing through the legs of substitute goalkeeper Peter Enckelman.

The Hoops had the opportunity to double their lead through efforts from James Forrest, Kris Commons, and Samaras again in the second period, but all chances were squandered.

Hearts never truly looked like troubling the Celtic goal as th second half went on, and Neil Lennon's side retained their position at the top of the SPL with relative ease.
Celtic manager Neil Lennon has hailed the performance of his players over the past week after the Glasgow side picked up maximum points against Spartak Moscow in the Champions League and against Scottish Premier League rivals Hearts.

The two victories made extended the Hoops unbeaten run start to the Champions League, and also restored their presence at the top of the SPL, and manager Lennon was understandably delighted when speaking to journalists this week. He said:

"I´m so delighted. The players have put in a massive effort this week and you could see the fatigue was starting kick in a little bit towards the end. We had to use the substitute early for Charlie and that wasn’t the way we wanted things to go but I can´t speak highly enough of the players. I thought it was a brilliant effort.

"I´m not saying we were at our best by any means but we created a lot of chances and could have put Hearts away earlier than we did."

The Northern Irish manager also commented that he contemplated freshening his side up for the second match, but was reluctant to do so so that the team's momentum would continue to build. He said:

"Champions League games, with the travelling, are mentally and physically hugely demanding. We used a lot of energy in the game on Tuesday, in Moscow, and maybe in hindsight I might have changed the team a little bit more but I didn’t want to.

"I wanted to keep the momentum going, and to be fair, the majority of players played well. There was just that bit of tiredness starting to seep in towards the end and I totally understand that."

Celtic's next match sees the Hoops travel to Paisley to take on St. Mirren in the Scottish Premier League.

This week a number of the first-team squad travel to meet up with their respective national squads with important 2014 World Cup on the horizon, but it is back to domestic duty on the 20th of October when they face Danny Lennon's men.

St. Mirren are currently placed seventh in the SPL with 12 points taken from nine matches. The Hoops top the league currently but may opt to rest a number of players on this match as two days after the game they travel to Spain to take on the mighty Barcelona.