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.

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.

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.




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