Scottish Premiership
Celtic3Hearts1

Celtic 3-1 Heart of Midlothian

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Highlights: Celtic 3-1 Hearts

Celtic hit three first-half goals to ease past Hearts and go 14 points clear at the Scottish Premiership summit.

Odsonne Edouard got the third-minute opener, with Dedryck Boyata and Moussa Dembele also scoring before the break.

Hearts' Kyle Lafferty pulled one back with a fine low strike on 67 minutes.

But it was the sole chance of note for the visitors as dominant Celtic gained a degree of revenge for the thumping at Tynecastle that ended their 69-game unbeaten domestic run in December.

The defeat is Hearts' first in 13 matches. Craig Levein's side remain fifth in the table, four points behind rivals Hibernian.

Just over six weeks ago, Celtic's lengthy and historic unbeaten streak came to a crashing end when they were trounced 4-0 in Gorgie. Nobody could possibly have predicted it, and such was its impact, people are still talking about the result. This game provided the opportunity for retribution. And the champions grasped it in style.

Odsonne Edouard scores for Celtic against Hearts
Striker Odsonne Edouard fired in the opening goal after less than three minutes

Given the injury to the recently favoured Leigh Griffiths, manager Brendan Rodgers opted for a front pairing of Edouard and Dembele and it took less than three minutes for the duo to carve out the opener.

The visitors were caught in possession inside Celtic's half and when the ball broke to Edouard, he sprinted towards goal with Hearts defenders in hot pursuit. Just as it looked as though the chasing pack would catch him, the 20-year-old smashed the ball past Jon McLaughlin in the away goal.

It was a moment that rocked Hearts - and one from which they never recovered. Kieran Tierney, then Dembele, went close, before the second goal arrived after 25 minutes.

Dedryck Boyata scores for Celtic against Hearts
Dedryck Boyata slid the ball under Jon McLaughlin to put Celtic two goals ahead

Another slick passage of play ended with Dembele playing in Boyata, and the big Belgian slotted deftly under McLaughlin. With Celtic in ruthless mood, and Hearts floundering, it looked like game over already.

Dembele was desperate for a goal of his own and he got it before the break, thanks in no small part to Tierney. The young full-back was at his impressive best, working the left flank with searing speed, silky skill and ferocious determination.

Moussa Dembele scores for Celtic against Hearts
Moussa Dembele diverted Kieran Tierney's cross into the Hearts net - his first goal since November

When he turned Conor Randall inside out, and flicked in a cross, Dembele turned it home at the near post. Goal number nine for the season and some relief following questions about his future and form.

The Frenchman almost registered another assist when he played Edouard in with a sumptuous spin and pass just after the hour, but his compatriot could only strike the ball against McLaughlin.

New loan signing Charly Musonda took the field with the event pretty much over as a contest and, with lime green boots on his feet and the number 67 on his back, he teased the home fans with flashes of trickery and patches of promise.

Charly Musonda
New Celtic signing Charly Musonda made his debut off the bench

The pantomime villain role was played by Lafferty, but the former Rangers striker silenced the jeers with an absolute howitzer of a goal after Celtic captain Scott Brown uncharacteristically surrendered the ball.

The skipper, who was an otherwise dominant presence in the centre of midfield, was perhaps put under pressure by the pass of Jozo Simunovic.

Nevertheless, he was caught in possession, and Northern Irishman Lafferty punished him with a long-range shot that flew into the bottom corner - his 12th goal of the season.

Kyle Laffery celebrates scoring for Hearts
Kyle Lafferty rocketed home a superb consolation for Hearts

As the home fans started to make for the exits, Celtic passed up a number of opportunities to make the scoreline more emphatic. This was a fine display, though - their best of 2018 by some distance.

Line-ups

Celtic

  • 24de Vries
  • 35AjerBooked at 48mins
  • 5Simunovic
  • 20Boyata
  • 49ForrestSubstituted forMusondaat 62'minutes
  • 8BrownBooked at 10mins
  • 21Ntcham
  • 88Kouassi
  • 63Tierney
  • 10DembeleSubstituted forSinclairat 71'minutes
  • 22EdouardSubstituted forMcGregorat 83'minutes

Substitutes

  • 6Bitton
  • 11Sinclair
  • 12Gamboa
  • 42McGregor
  • 45Doohan
  • 59Miller
  • 67Musonda

Hearts

  • 1McLaughlin
  • 16Randall
  • 4Souttar
  • 6Berra
  • 24Mitchell
  • 15Cowie
  • 20CallachanBooked at 30minsSubstituted forAmankwaaat 45'minutes
  • 47CochraneSubstituted forBuabenat 38'minutes
  • 10Sutchuin-Djoum
  • 11MilinkovicBooked at 90mins
  • 9LaffertyBooked at 19minsSubstituted forNaismithat 78'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Smith
  • 5Hughes
  • 7Amankwaa
  • 8Buaben
  • 13Hamilton
  • 14Naismith
  • 33Moore
Referee:
Craig Thomson
Attendance:
56,296

Match Stats

Home TeamCelticAway TeamHearts
Possession
Home65%
Away35%
Shots
Home17
Away3
Shots on Target
Home7
Away1
Corners
Home6
Away3
Fouls
Home9
Away21

Live Text

Match ends, Celtic 3, Heart of Midlothian 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Celtic 3, Heart of Midlothian 1.

Booking

Manuel Milinkovic (Heart of Midlothian) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Kristoffer Ajer (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Manuel Milinkovic (Heart of Midlothian).

Attempt saved. Olivier Ntcham (Celtic) right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Attempt missed. Scott Sinclair (Celtic) right footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Connor Randall.

Eboue Kouassi (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Djoum (Heart of Midlothian).

Attempt blocked. Olivier Ntcham (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Callum McGregor replaces Odsonne Edouard.

Attempt missed. Olivier Ntcham (Celtic) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left.

Attempt blocked. Charly Musonda (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Scott Brown (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Steven Naismith (Heart of Midlothian).

Attempt missed. Olivier Ntcham (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

Substitution

Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Steven Naismith replaces Kyle Lafferty because of an injury.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Connor Randall.

Attempt missed. Kyle Lafferty (Heart of Midlothian) header from the centre of the box is too high.

Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Kristoffer Ajer.

Attempt missed. Charly Musonda (Celtic) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

Eboue Kouassi (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Manuel Milinkovic (Heart of Midlothian).

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Scott Sinclair replaces Moussa Dembele.

Eboue Kouassi (Celtic) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Demetri Mitchell (Heart of Midlothian).

Kyle Lafferty (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Kieran Tierney (Celtic).

Goal!

Goal! Celtic 3, Heart of Midlothian 1. Kyle Lafferty (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom right corner.

Charly Musonda (Celtic) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Demetri Mitchell (Heart of Midlothian).

Foul by Olivier Ntcham (Celtic).

Christophe Berra (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt blocked. Odsonne Edouard (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Attempt blocked. Moussa Dembele (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Charly Musonda replaces James Forrest.

Attempt saved. Odsonne Edouard (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Attempt missed. Moussa Dembele (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

Kristoffer Ajer (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic25186154173760
2Rangers24144645261946
3Aberdeen2414463627946
4Hibernian2410863228438
5Hearts2581072623334
6Motherwell2384112933-428
7Kilmarnock226882631-526
8St Johnstone2275102233-1126
9Dundee2474132534-925
10Hamilton2365123139-823
11Partick Thistle2465132340-1723
12Ross County2445152240-1817
View full Scottish Premiership table

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