ODSONNE EDOUARD scored a stoppage time winner at Tynecastle this evening to get Neil Lennon and John Kennedy off to a winning start after taking over from Rodgers.
It looked like Celtic had blown it in a second half which began with Hearts down to ten men, Naismith off injured and the Champions a goal up after a wonderful counter attacking goal that was converted by James Forrest after a fine ball from Ewan Henderson sent Sinclair away. He set up the impressive Oli Burke and the big guy unselfishly set up Jamesy for a tap-in.
Yet with all that in our favour somehow Celtic managed to let Hearts back into the game with a stupid penalty. Boyata and Bain messed around with the bell inside the box and the goalie’s out ball to Ajer asked too much of the young Norwegian. Kris got the hall but also the man and Bain went the wrong way with the spot kick.
From then on Hearts sat back and limited Celtic to a few half chances but they never gave up. Scott Brown as usual was heavily involved and Boyata got himself into the box to unsettle Hearts. The cross landed perfectly for substitute Odsonne Edouard who wasn’t going to miss from there.
The Celtic end erupted and you could sense the disappointment at the other end of the M8 where the Rangers fans would have been praying for the final whistle at Tynecastle.
The game started with Hearts pressing Celtic high up the park.
Lee has first effort of the game on 12 minutes but Scott Bain saves. Haring is then booked for a foul on Ajer.
Broony has a great shot saved by Zlamal after picking up a clearance from a long throw-in from Tierney with 18 minutes on the clock.
Minutes later a clever corner from Hearts almost caught Celtic out. Clare arrived late and was unmarked at the corner of the eighteen yard line and his powerful shot was heading into the bottom corner of the Celtic net until and unbelievably good save from Scott Bain touched the ball round the post.
A few corners from the home side ends with Haring barging Bain but McLean keeps his cards in his pocket in this occasion, much to the relief of the Hearts stopper.
McLean did have his card out on 32 minutes when Djoum was late on Bitton but moments later it was Dedryck Boyata who almost sold the jerseys when Naismith steals the ball and drags his shot wide. The Belgian defender appeared to infringe the Hearts man in the process of shooting.
Scott Brown was next to go into book for a high boot after young Henderson wasn’t strong enough in the challenge. But moments later Celtic were ahead and young Ewan started the move with a wonderful forward pass to Sinclair.
Sinclair found Burke who unselfishly set up Forrest for a tap in.
Bitton had a decent effort shortly after the opening goal before Burke had a tremendous effort at the near post. Then Naismith was booked for a foul on Brown and moments later Brandon barged into Jerry Toljan with his elbow raised and McLean did not hesitate in pulling out a red card on 43 minutes.
It could have been game over just seconds before the interval but Zlamal saved brilliantly from a deflected shot from Oli Burke before robbing Scotty Sinclair who was preparing to tap the second ball home.
That kept Hearts in the game at the interval.
Celtic looked comfortable enough at the start of the second half but with 55 minutes on the clock Bain and Boyata were at sixes and sevens before the goalie played a poor pass to Kris Ajer who conceded the penalty.
Hearts sat deep to protect their hard won leveller and Lennon/ Kennedy sent on Edouard, Weah and Lustig to try to create an opening.
It all looked like being in vain but Scott Brown and Dedryck Boyata had other ideas. The cross from the captain was wonderful, the run from Boyata clever and the hero of the night Odsonne Edouard was there to finish it off.
Huge screens of celebrations followed. This is how it feels to be Champions.
Good banner from the Bhoys before the game, that one was for you Rodgers.
Man of the Match – Scott Brown