Hearts were beaten 5-0 at home by Celtic this afternoon.
A first-half Scott Sinclair brace sent the visitors on their way to victory, with further strikes from Stuart Armstrong, Patrick Roberts and a late Sinclair penalty rounding off a miserable afternoon for the Jambos.
Ian Cathro made two changes from the side that lost at Aberdeen two weeks ago. The injured Arnaud Djoum was replaced by Bjorn Johnsen, while Perry Kitchen slotted in for Sam Nicholson.
Hearts had the game’s first shot at goal after six minutes. Isma showed great strength on the touchline to hold off Jozo Simunovic and fire a cross into the box for Johnsen to lay off Jamie Walker, but the winger’s effort flew wide.
Four minutes later Isma went close to breaking the deadlock. Alex Tziolis sprayed a wonderful cross-field ball out to Portuguese striker, who ran at pace into the final third and cut inside before forcing a good save out of Craig Gordon, who managed to smother the rebound before Johnsen could get there.
Gordon denied Isma again, this time in the 17th minute. Walker’s through-ball found the striker inside the box but his low drive was well blocked by the Celtic ‘keeper, with the rebound cannoning back off Isma and behind.
The visitors went straight up the park and nearly scored. Sinclair’s cross to the back post found Callum McGregor unmarked, but he mishit his first-time shot and the ball trundled wide.
Gordon was called into action again in the 22nd minute. Don Cowie’s deep corner found Tasos Avlonitis at the edge of the six-yard box and his header was beaten away by the ‘keeper, under intense pressure from Walker.
Two minutes later and against the run of play, Celtic took the lead. Sinclair was afforded space on the edge of the box and played a neat one-two with Roberts before firing high beyond Jack Hamilton and into the roof of the net.
Sinclair doubled Celtic’s lead in the 27th minute. Roberts was again the provider, threading Sinclair through and the Englishman ran in on goal and drilled past Hamilton.
Hearts had a big penalty shout turned down before half-time when Cowie appeared to be bundled over inside the box by Simunovic, but referee Kevin Clancy said no.
The men in maroon had a half chance five minutes into the restart when Johnsen robbed Scott Brown of possession and carried on to the edge of the box, but with Cowie on the overlap the striker went for goal and blasted high over the crossbar.
Celtic then had the ball in the back of the net only to see the goal disallowed. Armstrong’s cross was turned into his own net by Avlonitis, however Sinclair made an attempt to touch the ball over the line from an offside position and the flag went up.
The third goal did come for the visitors in the 55th minute. Kieran Tierney’s ball across the face of goal was dummied by McGregor and Armstrong hit a sweet curling shot around Hamilton from 20-yards.
Kitchen then went close with an ambitious half-volley from 25-yards which landed inches over the crossbar, as Hearts tried desperately to get a foothold back in the game.
It was 4-0 after 62 minutes. Krystian Nowak’s slack pass was cut out by McGregor, who played in Roberts to curl high into the top corner from inside the box.
With seven minutes remaining Celtic were awarded a penalty after Nowak tripped Sinclair inside the box, and the striker dusted himself down to fire high into the top corner.
Hearts: Hamilton, Struna, Avlonitis, Nowak, Sowah, Tziolis (Buaben, 65'), Kitchen, Cowie, Walker (Martin, 65'), Johnsen, Isma (Beith, 71'). Subs: Noring, Smith, Nicholson, Currie.
Celtic: Gordon, Lustig (Gamboa, 79'), Simunovic, Boyata (Toure, 86'), Tierney, Forrest, Brown, Armstrong, Roberts (Mackay-Steven, 79'), McGregor, Sinclair. Subs: Bailly, Toure, Bitton, Aitchison, Kouassi.
Ref: Kevin Clancy