Celtic cruised to victory a 4-1 victory over Hearts at Tynecastle to restore their seven point advantage at the summit of the cinch Premiership.
Early strikes from Matt O’Riley and Daizen Maeda put Celtic in the driving seat before Reo Hatate missed from the penalty spot inside the first minute of the second half. Kyogo Furuhashi would grab Celtic’s third five minutes later however as the game seemed to slip away from the home side.
Hearts captain Lawrence Shankland did end his nine game wait for a goal with an excellent effort to reduce the deficit to two, but with 10-minutes left Tomoki Iwata sealed the victory with his first goal for Brendan Rodgers outfit.
Celtic arrived in Tynecastle with their advantage at the top of the table cut to four points after Rangers win over Hibernian yesterday, in the first Glasgow/Edinburgh clash of the weekend.
Rodgers side came out the traps flying however and O’Riley continued his fine scoring form to put his side ahead after three minutes. Luis Palma delivered a clever clipped ball over the Hearts defence which the Danish midfielder caught on the drop over his left shoulder and directed his shot into the far corner beyond Zander Clark.
Celtic were in full control when they doubled their advantage after 22 minutes. Reo Hatate’s ball across the face of goal was turned in by Daizen Maeda to net his 4th goal in 6 games against Hearts.
Seconds after the re-start Celtic were gifted a golden opportunity to assert their dominance further when Nick Walsh pointed for a penalty after Kyogo went to ground. Hatate stepped up only to see his effort come back off the post as there remained life in the game.
The visitors wouldn’t have to wait long for their third however as Kyogo got on the scoresheet on 50 minutes. Luis Palma again looked dangerous on the left hand side and it was the Honduran’s cross that broke to the Celtic forward who buried his finish beyond Clark for his 60th goal in green and white hoops.
Lawrence Shankland pulled one back for the home side with 25 minutes left to play. The Hearts captain netted his first goal in nine games with an expertly take finish from the edge of the area.
Any vague hope of a comeback was put to bed as the league leaders added a fourth with ten minutes left. The ball broke on the edge of the box to Tomoki Iwata who curled home a delicious effort off the underside of the crossbar for his first Celtic goal.