Hearts fell to a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Celtic on Sunday.
The visitors went three up through Matt O’Riley, Daizen Maeda and Kyogo Furuhashi. Lawrence Shankland pulled one back but any hopes of a comeback were extinguished when Tomoki Iwata struck late on.
Head coach Steven Naismith made one change from the side that drew with Hibs prior to the international break. Alex Cochrane returned from injury to replace Stephen Kingsley, who missed out with a groin issue.
The deadlock was broken inside four minutes. Luis Palma’s ball over the top was met by O’Riley, who guided a first-time volley into Zander Clark’s bottom left corner.
The Jambos created a chance four minutes later when Alex Lowry’s clever ball sent Cochrane into the box. The shot looked on but he swung a cross to the back door and unfortunately there were no maroon shirts waiting to pounce.
Hearts threatened again soon after with Calem Nieuwenhof sending a ball down the channel for Kenneth Vargas, to cut inside before blasting an effort that was pushed around the post by Joe Hart.
At the other end, Maeda got away from his marker to curl a powerful shot on target but Clark was equal to it, beating the ball away.
Callum McGregor was next to try his luck, drilling from distance but his low effort flew a good few yards wide of Clark’s right-hand post.
On 23 minutes it was 2-0. Reo Hatate’s played a ball across Hearts’ six-yard box and Maeda was on hand to bundle it home. After a VAR check for offside, the decision stood.
Things didn’t look to be getting any better after the restart when referee Nick Walsh gave a penalty against Alex Cochrane for an apparent foul on Kyogo Furuhashi. Despite a VAR check the decision stood. Hatate stepped up and rattled the post from the spot and justice was served.
It was 3-0 on 50 minutes. Furuhashi got the break of the ball inside the box and slammed beyond Clark from close range.
Hatate went close not long after, gliding into the box and trying to stick one in the far corner but missing the target.
Shankland forced Hart into action just after the hour mark, running through the middle before seeing his shot pushed away by the Celtic keeper.
The skipper would get better of Hart a minute later, receiving the ball on the edge of the box before curling a wonderful effort into the bottom right corner to pull one back.
With 70 minutes on the clock Alan Forrest tried to repeat his derby heroics by cutting in from the right and blasting goalwards, but his shot lacked height and Hart was able to gather.
The Jambos went close again with 13 minutes remaining when Forrest’s shot was blocked by Liam Scales and bounced towards Shankland, but he could only swing at it from on the deck and ended up hooking the ball over the bar.
Three minutes later Clark had to be alert to deny Oh with a good stop with his legs, but the ball broke to Iwata and he fired high into the roof of the net to make it 4-1.
Clark made a smart block to deny Oh late on, while Yutaro Oda burst into the Celtic box but could only hit the side net to end a disappointing afternoon in Gorgie.
Hearts: Clark, Kent, Nieuwenhof (Baningime, 57’), Shankland ©, Devlin (Grant, 82’), Rowles, A. Forrest, Cochrane, Sibbick, Lowry (Oda, 57’), Vargas (Boyce, 72’). Subs: McGovern, Haring, Halliday, Denholm, Offiah.
Celtic: Hart, Johnston, Taylor, Scales, Palma (J. Forrest, 65’), Furuhashi (Oh, 71’), Carter-Vickers, O’Riley, Maeda (Yang, 71’), Hatate, (Iwata, 65’) McGregor (Bernardo, 82’). Subs: Bain, Phillips, Turnbull, Ralston.