Celtic roared back to all but secure the Scottish Premiership title with a rousing victory at home to Hearts.
Ellis Simms’ emphatic finish stunned the home crowd early on, but the league leaders responded in relentless fashion as two goals in seven first-half minutes from Japanese duo Daizen Maeda and Kyogo Furuhashi turned the game.
Matt O’Riley and Giorgos Giakoumakis sealed the win that puts Celitc nine points clear of Rangers, who have three games to claw back the deficit plus an inferior goal difference of 22.
If Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s Europa League finalists fail to beat Dundee United at Ibrox on Sunday, the title will mathematically be beyond last season’s league winners, but even victory will almost certainly be delaying the inevitable.
Ange Postecoglou’s men travel to Tannadice – the ground they lost the league on last term – on Wednesday. Permitting Rangers win on Sunday, just a point will be enough for Celtic to confirm their status as champions.
Hearts, who pushed for a leveller before O’Riley increased the hosts’ advantage, have already secured third spot.
More to follow.
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Heart of Midlothian
- 33O’RileySubstituted forRogicat 77′minutes
- 14TurnbullSubstituted forHatateat 66′minutes
- 17Neves FilipeSubstituted forForrestat 81′minutes
- 8FuruhashiSubstituted forGiakoumakisat 64′minutes
- 38MaedaSubstituted forAbadaat 65′minutes
- 21SibbickBooked at 31mins
- 30GinnellySubstituted forWoodburnat 81′minutes
- 18McKaySubstituted forThomasat 89′minutes
- 20SimmsSubstituted forMackay-Stevenat 75′minutes
Match ends, Celtic 4, Heart of Midlothian 1.
Second Half ends, Celtic 4, Heart of Midlothian 1.
Foul by Liel Abada (Celtic).
Stephen Kingsley (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Craig Gordon.
Attempt saved. Liel Abada (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Giorgos Giakoumakis with a through ball.
Goal! Celtic 4, Heart of Midlothian 1. Giorgos Giakoumakis (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by James Forrest.
Attempt blocked. Liel Abada (Celtic) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Attempt saved. Reo Hatate (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Giorgos Giakoumakis.
Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Murray Thomas replaces Barrie McKay.
Foul by Reo Hatate (Celtic).
Peter Haring (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Reo Hatate (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by James Forrest.
Attempt saved. James Forrest (Celtic) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Greg Taylor.
Attempt saved. Liam Boyce (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.
Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Ben Woodburn replaces Josh Ginnelly.
Substitution, Celtic. James Forrest replaces Jota.
Offside, Celtic. Tomas Rogic tries a through ball, but Liel Abada is caught offside.
Offside, Celtic. Liel Abada tries a through ball, but Jota is caught offside.
Substitution, Celtic. Tomas Rogic replaces Matt O’Riley.