Celtic 2-0 Heart of Midlothian
A plucky Hearts side were beaten 2-0 by Celtic in Glasgow on Saturday afternoon.
Second half goals from Kris Commons and James Forrest meant the points belonged to the champions, however Hearts played with organisation and confidence in a match that restored pride to the maroon cause.
Gary Locke was forced into making three changes from last week's side, with Sam Nicholson, Gary Oliver and Scott Robinson making way for Brad McKay, David Smith and Adam King - the latter making his first professional start for the club.
An organised Hearts defence soaked up pressure well and in the seventh minute Jamie MacDonald was quick off his line to touch a through ball away from Kris Commons inside the box. From the resultant corner, MacDonald palmed Anthony Stokes' close range effort onto the crossbar before the danger was cleared.
It was Commons again who tested MacDonald after 16 minutes when he hit a first-time half-volley from the edge of the box, but the Hearts no.1 got down well to palm the ball round his left hand post.
The Jambos continued to absorb pressure but also looked very dangerous on the counter attack, thanks to the great breaking down and build up play of Callum Tapping Adam King. The home side should've taken the lead however on 34 minutes but MacDonald pulled off a world class reaction save from Joe Ledley's point blank header in the six yard box.
Jamma continued to pull off heroic stops after the restart. Commons twisted and turned his way through the Hearts box on the hour mark before firing an angled shot goalwards, but MacDonald sprung to make a one-handed save and keep Celtic at bay.
Three minutes later the deadlock was broken, and unfortunately it was by the home side. Dylan McGowan thought he'd won a throw in after playing the ball off of Pukki, however referee Euan Norris signalled the other way. From that throw in, Scott Brown fed in Commons who shot low and across the face of goal, beyond MacDonald and into the back of the net.
MacDonald and Commons continued their duel in the 81st minute the Hearts 'keeper again denied Celts' top scorer, this time Common's looping header at the back door as tipped over the bar.
The Jambos went agonisingly close to grabbing a late equaliser when Dylan McGowan rose to meet David Smith's corner, but his header was cleared by a Celtic player standing in front of Fraser Forster's right hand post.
To add insult to injury, Celtic grabbed a second deep into injury time as Hearts were chasing an equaliser. James Forrest was set free down the right hand side and he cut into the box, wrong footed his man and slotted home.
A harsh end to the game, but Hearts can held their heads high after putting in one of their best performances at Celtic Park in recent times.
Celtic: Forster; Fisher, Ambrose, Van Dijk, Izaguirre; Commons, Brown, Biton (Forrest, 46'), Ledley; Stokes, Pukki (Samaras, 70'). Subs: Zaluska, Balde, Henderson, Atajic, O'Connell.
Hearts: MacDonald; Hamill, McKay, Wilson, McHattie; McGowan; Walker (Carrick, 72'), A. King, Tapping (Nicholson, 85'), Smith; Paterson. Subs: Hamilton, McGhee, B. King.
Referee: Euan Norris
Top man: Jamie MacDonald