Heart of Midlothian 0-2 Celtic
Battling Hearts went down 2-0 at home to Celtic this afternoon.
Second half goals from Leigh Griffiths and Temmu Pukki secured three points for the visitors, the Jambos can be proud of the performance they put in.
Gary Locke made two changes to the side that drew in Inverness a week previous. Callum Paterson and Kevin McHattie both returned from suspension to the starting line up, as Hearts went out with a fluid 4-5-1 formation.
Despite being played at a frantic pace, both sides cancelled each other out in the opening 20 minutes as neither team registered a shot on goal.
Anthony Stokes was the recipient of the game's first real chance after 21 minutes when he got on the end of a defence-splitting pass, but his shot from the edge of the box was blocked behind by the diving Danny Wilson.
A minute later Virgil Van Dijk went close with a 25-yard free-kick, but he curled his effort just round Jamie MacDonald's left-hand post.
Though the visitors created more chances as the half went on, Hearts defended resolutely. Kris Commons' dipping shot from 30 yards was as close as Celtic got, but his 39th minute effort cleared the crossbar before landing on the roof of the net.
Hearts caused Celtic problems down both wings, with Paterson and Sam Nicholson using their pace and trickery to full advantage, however the maroon forward-line could not make the breakthrough in the final third.
The Jambos made a blistering start to the second half and almost took the lead straightaway. Ryan Stevenson collected the ball and struck a thunderous shot from 25 yards out that stung the hands of Foster who was unable to hold onto the ball, but gathered at the second attempt.
Unfortunately, it was the visitors who broke the deadlock after 57 minutes. Leigh Griffiths took the ball down and twisted his way past Wilson into the Hearts box before rifling low past MacDonald from 15 yards.
The maroons didn't give up the ghost however, as they proceeded to edge their way closer and closer to Celtic's goal. Nicholson continued to be a real thorn in the visitors' side and on 75 minutes he showed quick feet to slalom into the box, but he leant back as he pulled the trigger and blasted his shot clean over the bar.
Though he didn't have much to do in the game, MacDonald was on hand to deny the visitors a second with six minutes remaining. Adam Matthews skinned McHattie on the byeline before crossing for substitute Derek Boerrigter, but his first-time shot was beautifully palmed the ball over the bar by the Hearts no. 1.
With a minute remaining Heart almost grabbed the equaliser. Paterson's long thrown was flicked on and bounced over Forster, but the ball then agonisingly bounced away from the goal-line and was cleared.
Cruelly, Celtic then got a second. Amido Balde broke clear on the left touchline and middled for Teemu Pukki, who slotted past the despairing MacDonald.
A battling performance from the Jambos, with the final 2-0 scoreline perhaps flattering for the visitors.
Hearts: MacDonald; McGowan, McKay, Wilson, McHattie; Paterson, Stevenson (King, 80'), Hamill, Robinson (Holt, 80'), Nicholson; McCallum (Carrick, 51'). Subs: Ridgers, McGhee, Beith, Oliver.
Celtic: Forster; Matthews, Van Dijk, Ambrose, Mulgrew; Brown, Biton, Johansen (Boerrigter, 82'), Commons; Griffiths (Pukki, 67'), Stokes (Balde, 88'). Subs: Zaluska, Samaras, Herron, Fisher.
Referee: Kevin Clancy
Top man: Callum Paterson