Hearts suffered a miserable afternoon in the William Hill Scottish Cup with Celtic notching four without reply at Tynecastle in what was an incident-packed match.
Morgaro Gomis saw red only eight minutes into the game, with Virgil van Dijk steering the visitors in front. The second-half saw a controversial penalty awarded to Celtic, when Brad McKay was penailsed for a sliding challenge on John Guidetti despite making no contact, which Guidetti himself scored. Anthony Stokes’ strike and another van Dijk goal gave Celtic a comfortable win.
The Jambos entered the second part of an Old Firm double header with two changes to the side that saw off Rangers last week. Adam Eckersley replaced the injured Kevin McHattie while James Keatings slotted in for Soufian El Hassnaoui, who missed out with an ankle knock.
It took only 90 seconds for Hearts to register their first attempt on target. Callum Paterson’s cross found Keatings at the edge of the box, and although the front-man did well to get the ball out from under his feet, his curling effort was comfortably smothered by Craig Gordon.
Disaster struck with eight minutes on the clock when referee Willie Collum sent skipper Gomis off from the field of play, after he lunged into a challenge on Scott Brown.
Celtic tried to make the numbers advantage count but the men in maroon continued to give a good account of themselves, limiting the visitors to shouts from distance. Adam Matthews tried his luck from 25-yards out on the 25th minute mark, but his effort flew across the face of goal and wide.
That changed, however, when Celtic broke the deadlock from close range after 29 minutes. Stokes’ low ball into the box was side-footed first time by van Dijk into the bottom right corner.
Van Dijk should’ve doubled his and Celtic’s tally in the 38th minute. He met Stokes’ corner from the right but, despite being completely unmarked, ballooned the ball over the bar from six yards.
The second-half started controversially when Celtic were awarded a penalty. McKay’s sliding challenge made no contact on Guidetti – as replays subsequently proved – but the referee pointed to the spot and the Swede slammed home to make it 2-0.
Minutes later Celtic added another. Stokes drove towards goal before firing low from 18-yards past Alexander and into the corner of the net.
The visitors compounded the Jambos’ misery just after the hour mark when van Dijk rose unmarked to bullet a header past Alexander, courtesy of Stefan Johansen’s corner.
Prince Buaben was introduced and he made an immediate impact, carrying the ball forward past a clutch of green and white shirts before finding Jamie Walker, but his low drive was gathered easily by Gordon.
Substitute Robbie Buchanan impressed and almost grabbed his first senior goal late on. He showed great awareness to hold off Efe Ambrose before driving forward and letting fly from 20-yards, but his effort was inches wide of Gordon’s right-hand post.
A day to forget for the Jambos, who now concentrate on league duty with Queen of the South visiting Tynecastle on December 6.
Hearts: Alexander, Paterson, Ozturk, Gomis, Walker (Buchanan, 68'), Holt (Buaben, 59'), King, Pallardo, Keatings (Robinson, 77'), McKay, Eckersley. Subs: Hamilton, McGhee, McKirdy, Flanagan.
Celtic: Gordon, Matthews, Ambrose, van Dijk, Brown, Bitton, Forrest (Tonev, 57'), Johansen (Commons, 66'), Stokes (Griffiths, 66'), Guidetti. Subs: Zaluska, Kayal, O'Connell, McGregor.
Referee: Willie Collum
Top man: Adam Eckersley