Hearts establish title credentials against Celtic

Hearts 2 Celtic 1

Hearts 2 Celtic 1

A double by Hearts striker Roman Bednar gave the Gorgie men a 2-1 win over Celtic in their tempestuous SPL match at Tynecastle.

Hoops manager Gordon Strachan and Jambos coach John McGlynn were sent to the stand following a touchline bust-up just before the interval but the action was all on the pitch in the second half.

Bednar shot the home side into the lead in the 49th minute before Parkhead playmaker Stilian Petrov grabbed a 65th-minute equaliser.

But in the 88th minute Bednar capitalised on a poor back pass by Celtic substitute Neil Lennon, on for Kenny Miller, to round Parkhead keeper Artur Boruc and slide the ball into the empty net.

It was a personal disaster for the Irishman who was surprisingly left on the bench after returning from suspension.

Lennon and the rest of his team mates trooped off dejectedly at the end of the game as the Gorgie side and their fans indulged in wild celebration.

Even before a ball had been kicked there was some mild drama at Tynecastle with a late change in referee, Stuart Dougal taking over from Kenny Clark who called off with a back injury with Calum Murray taking over as fourth official.

Celtic, wearing their new green and black away kit, were skippered by stopper Stephen McManus but it was the home side who were straight into attack forcing a corner within 60 seconds which the Parkhead side cleared comfortably.

In the 15th minute, after Gorgie midfielder Julien Brellier had been booked for a foul on Aiden McGeady on the left, Shunsuke Nakamura flashed the free-kick across the Hearts six-yard box but found no takers.

At the other end five minutes later, a Bruno Aguiar free-kick from wide on the left was headed past the far post by Bednar.

In the 27th minute Jambos defender Ibrahim Tall had to be replaced by Robbie Neilson after the Senegalese defender seemed to catch his studs in the turf following a challenge by McGeady.

On the half hour mark, an in-swinging Nakamura corner from the right was met by Jiri Jarosik at the near post but the former Chelsea midfielder headed over the bar.

The first genuine chance of the game had yet to arrive and Jarosik’s turn and shot from 20 yards which went yards wide of the target did little to suggest the opening goal was imminent.

Miller then made his first real contribution to the game when his curled shot from outside the Hearts penalty area forced Gorgie keeper Craig Gordon into saving at the second attempt.

But just before the interval Strachan and McGlynn were both sent to the standby referee Dougal after a touchline bust-up.

Strachan was clearly unhappy that the game was stopped for treatment to Brellier after he clashed with McGeady.

An angry McGlynn approached Strachan and Celtic coach Gary Pendrey also seemed to be involved in the shouting match.

Fourth official Calum Murray tried to calm it all down before Dougal came over and dismissed McGlynn and an incredulous Strachan.

Hearts began the second half with added enthusiasm and in the 48th minute Aguiar floated a delightful chip from the left into the Celtic six-yard box only to see the unconvincing Bednar miss his header.

However, a minute later the Czech Republic striker made amends for his hesitancy by firing the Edinburgh side into the lead.

With the Celtic defence still trying to re-organise themselves, Michal Pospisil sent the Jambos’ hit-man clear on the left and from a wide angle he drove his left-footed shot past Boruc and in off the far post.

Tynecastle rocked to the celebrations of the home fans as the Gorgie men set about doubling their lead, Brellier coming close with a volley from distance which Boruc did well to stop at the second attempt.

Just after the hour mark, with the Hoops’ defence again in disarray, Bednar had the ball in the net again after rounding Boruc but was ruled offside.

But in a swift counter-attack in the 65th minute the Parkhead side grabbed the equaliser through Stilian Petrov. Following a Hearts corner that broke down, Maciej Zurawski robbed Hearts substitute Deividas Cesnauskis, on moments earlier for Neil McCann, and Nakamura swept the ball out wide left to Miller.

The former Hibernian player kept the move going by passing on to McGeady and when the ball came into the Bulgarian 16 yards from goal he confidently swept his left-footed shot past Gordon.

Celtic were now in the ascendancy, pushing forward with belief for the first time in the match but the Gorgie defence quickly recovered their composure and tightened up.

But a late moment of drama handed the Edinburgh side all three points.

In the 88th minute Bednar accepted a poor pass-back by the hapless Lennon to round Boruc and slide the ball into the net for a memorable finale.

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