Our series leading up to this weekend's Scottish Cup semi final continues with a controversial day at Hampden in 2005.
It's not often that what happens off the park overshadows what happens on the park but this was certainly the case on this day. A minute's silence for the recent death of Pope John Paul II was to be held before the game kicked-off. Unfortunately, this was marred by the booing and chants of Hearts fans, the referee called a halt to the silence.
Hearts later apologised for the conduct of their fans, but unsurprisingly this created a bad feeling before the game, and seemed to have annoyed the Celtic players as much as it annoyed the fans. Celtic had lost their previous match against Hearts eight days earlier, but there was no chance of that being repeated as Celtic stormed into an early lead. After a John Hartson effort was deflected for a corner, Chris Sutton powered home Alan Thompson's cross after only three minutes to give Celtic the lead.
The rest of the first-half consisted of few chances, the best one falling to Hearts' Joe Hammil, but his shot was blocked by Valgaeren, and after 45 minutes Celtic were 1-0 up.
Just as in the first-half, Celtic flew out the traps at the start of the second-half. A John Hartson shot went just wide after a goalmouth STRAMASH, but the second goal wasn't long in coming, Craig Bellamy taking advantage of Paul Hartley error in the box to hit a shot which took a slight deflection and deceived Craig Gordon. 2-0 to Celtic after 49 minutes.
Celtic were now dominant and almost went three up when Gordon was forced to touch a Thompson cross-shot onto the bar, a Varga header was saved on the goal line, then a Thompson solo effort was halted only by Gordon making a fine save.
Incredibly despite all of Celtic's chances, Hearts scored the next goal, an acrobatic shot by Cesnauskis giving David Marshall no chance, and it was 2-1 and game on with half an hour to go.
Despite some pressure from Hearts, Celtic were never really in danger and the game ended with Celtic through to the cup final. The match was a particular triumph for Craig Bellamy, who turned in a man of the match performance and looked poised to finally win domestic honours for the first time in his career...but that's a story for another day.
Heart of Midlothian 1 (Cesnauskis 60') Celtic 2 (Sutton 3' Bellamy 49')