Scottish Premiership
CelticCeltic5HeartsHeart of Midlothian0

Celtic 5-0 Hearts: Reigning champions outclass leaders Hearts with thumping win

By Jonathan SutherlandBBC Scotland at Celtic Park
Watch: Celtic's five goals against leaders Hearts

Celtic narrowed the gap at the top of the Scottish Premiership to just one point as they blew away leaders Hearts at Celtic Park.

For the second time in six days, Brendan Rodgers' side outclassed their Edinburgh opposition to record a seventh straight domestic win.

Striker Odsonne Edouard netted either side of a Filip Benkovic header, all before half-time.

James Forrest then rifled in a fourth, with Ryan Christie adding a fifth.

Celtic, having scored just seven goals in their opening seven league games, have now scored 20 in their last four and are just one behind Hearts with a game in hand.

Hearts' title credentials dented

Manager Craig Levein said before the match that this was the sort of fixture Hearts had to win if they were to be considered title contenders. On this evidence, his side are still somewhat short as they were utterly bossed by Celtic.

The league leaders were, of course, missing several key players but the reigning champions dominated the play.

Edouard fired a shot from the edge of the box high into the net to open the scoring, before Benkovic doubled the lead with a header - his first goal for the club.

French striker Edouard then scored his second and Celtic's third, firing home a Kieran Tierney cross from close range.

In truth, it was far too easy for Celtic, who peppered the Hearts goal with further efforts. They eased up a gear to make it 4-0 after 65 minutes as Edouard turned provider for Forrest to lash home in the box.

And there was sparkle in the build up to the penalty award for their fifth, Celtic sweeping forward before Forrest was brought down as he ran across goal. Ryan Christie dispatched the spot kick. In general, Celtic were in cruise control.

Hearts offered little in terms of any kind of threat. Steven MacLean fired in a close range shot and Ben Garuccio hit a post in the latter part of the second half, which was as good as it got for the away side.

Celtic back to their best - analysis

Celtic are now flexing their muscles and the momentum is clear to see. The form appears to be back to the level they established in Brendan Rodgers' first two seasons, which bodes well for their crucial home game against RB Leipzig in the Europa League on Thursday - one Celtic have to win if they are to make progress in the competition.

All in all, it was a tough afternoon for Hearts. Questions were always going to be asked about their strength in depth having lost key players to injury, and against the best in the Premiership they were found wanting. Their only real solace is that, for now, they remain top.

'Our attacking play was unbelievable'- reaction

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers: "Today typified our achievements over the past two and half years.

"We've been in European competition playing really difficult games and to produce what we've produced today shows our hunger and a sense that the team's back. Some of our attacking combination play was unbelievable."

Hearts manager Craig Levein: "I felt, although we lost two goals in the second-half, I actually felt much better. To be fair to the players, they ran their socks off and put in a much better performance.

"We get a lot of players back [from injury] at the start of December. We'll have a lot more strength-in-depth once we get to the winter break [in January]. We'll consign this result to the dustbin."

Highlights - Celtic 5-0 Heart of Midlothian

Line-ups

Celtic

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Gordon
  • 23LustigSubstituted forAjerat 58'minutes
  • 32Benkovic
  • 20Boyata
  • 63Tierney
  • 42McGregor
  • 17Christie
  • 49Forrest
  • 18Rogic
  • 11SinclairSubstituted forMorganat 80'minutes
  • 22EdouardSubstituted forJohnstonat 72'minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Hendry
  • 15Hayes
  • 16Morgan
  • 29Bain
  • 35Ajer
  • 55McInroy
  • 73Johnston

Hearts

Formation 4-1-4-1

  • 1Zlamal
  • 2SmithBooked at 90mins
  • 28Dikamona
  • 3Dunne
  • 11MitchellSubstituted forGaruccioat 45'minutes
  • 5HaringBooked at 87mins
  • 9ClareBooked at 51minsSubstituted forMorrisonat 73'minutes
  • 10Sutchuin-Djoum
  • 20Cochrane
  • 23MulraneySubstituted forWightonat 81'minutes
  • 18MacLean

Substitutes

  • 7Bozanic
  • 8Lee
  • 13Doyle
  • 15Wighton
  • 16Hughes
  • 17Garuccio
  • 38Morrison
Referee:
John Beaton
Attendance:
58,831

Match Stats

Home TeamCelticAway TeamHearts
Possession
Home63%
Away37%
Shots
Home17
Away3
Shots on Target
Home10
Away1
Corners
Home6
Away2
Fouls
Home11
Away14

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Celtic 5, Heart of Midlothian 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Celtic 5, Heart of Midlothian 0.

  3. Post update

    Hand ball by Kieran Tierney (Celtic).

  4. Booking

    Michael Smith (Heart of Midlothian) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  5. Post update

    Filip Benkovic (Celtic) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Michael Smith (Heart of Midlothian).

  7. Goal!

    Goal! Celtic 5, Heart of Midlothian 0. Ryan Christie (Celtic) converts the penalty with a left footed shot to the bottom right corner.

  8. Post update

    Penalty Celtic. James Forrest draws a foul in the penalty area.

  9. Post update

    Penalty conceded by Craig Wighton (Heart of Midlothian) after a foul in the penalty area.

  10. Booking

    Peter Haring (Heart of Midlothian) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  11. Post update

    Lewis Morgan (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Peter Haring (Heart of Midlothian).

  13. Post update

    Foul by Kristoffer Ajer (Celtic).

  14. Post update

    Peter Haring (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  15. Post update

    Kieran Tierney (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Callumn Morrison (Heart of Midlothian).

  17. Post update

    Ben Garuccio (Heart of Midlothian) hits the bar with a left footed shot from long range on the left.

  18. Post update

    Attempt missed. Tomas Rogic (Celtic) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left misses to the right.

  19. Post update

    Dedryck Boyata (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Craig Wighton (Heart of Midlothian).