Celtic achieve ten in a row: Limp Hearts dominated once again as Matt O'Riley lights up Tynecastle

Here we go, ten in a row. Celtic's dominance of Hearts goes on, their tenth consecutive win over the Jambos stretching back to 2021.

It feels like a lifetime ago since Hearts gave the Premiership champions a bloody nose, which came when Covid restrictions were a thing, a 2-1 victory courtesy of a late John Souttar header. Celtic have now scored 28 goals against them since that defeat, and were miles ahead of their visitors at a sun-kissed Tynecastle. Celtic did not have to get out of second gear as they prevailed 4-1.

Hearts' inability to do anything tangible against the Old Firm must continue to vex the club's hierarchy, who made it clear when dispensing with manager Robbie Neilson earlier this year that results against the Glasgow duo need to improve. So far under Steven Naismith, they have picked up a point at Ibrox and lost twice to Celtic. They take on Rangers twice in the next two weeks.

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Hearts will need to be much better in Govan next Sunday than they were here. Their midfield in particular failed to assume any type of control – Calem Nieuwenhof just could not get into the match and was hooked for Beni Baningime – and they only became competitive once Celtic were three goals to the good. By that point, the horse had bolted.

Celtic's Tomoki Iwata leads the full time celebrations after the 4-1 win over Hearts at Tynecastle.Celtic's Tomoki Iwata leads the full time celebrations after the 4-1 win over Hearts at Tynecastle.
Celtic's Tomoki Iwata leads the full time celebrations after the 4-1 win over Hearts at Tynecastle.

Hearts will lament how easily they allowed Celtic's supremely in-form midfielder Matt O'Riley to open the scoring with his sixth goal of the season. The 22-year-old has taken his game to the next level under Brendan Rodgers and put in another excellent display. The Dane glided all over the pitch and struck just four minutes in with a quite delightful finish, breaking on to Luis Palma's clipped ball into the penalty box and dispatching a first-time finish past Zander Clark as the ball dropped over his shoulder.

Celtic's advantage was doubled on 23 minutes in the most simplistic fashion. Reo Hatate charged on to an O'Riley pass and squared the ball to an unmarked Daizen Maeda to bundle home from only a couple of yards out. The lack of resistance from his Hearts team will surely have pained Naismith.

Hearts were spraying misplaced passes all over the pitch – Alex Lowry was the worst culprit – and any hope of a comeback after the restart was squashed by the 51-minute mark. O'Riley missed a Palma cross but Kyogo Furuhashi was there to slam the ball past Clark. Moments earlier, Hearts had survived a penalty, when Hatate smacked the post from the spot after Alex Cochrane had felled Furuhashi in the box just 15 seconds after the restart.

Captain Lawrence Shankland did get Hearts on the scoreboard with a nice finish on 65 minutes, latching on to an errant Maeda pass and firing in off the post. It was his first goal in eight outings and the Jambos will hope it will breathe confidence into a player who has been well short of last season's prolific form.

Celtic made sure they had the final word on 80 minutes as replacement Tomoki Iwata belted home his first goal for the club off the underside of the bar. The 576 Celtic fans inside Tynecastle – the majority held up Palestinian flags before kick off – celebrated gleefully at full time as their team restored their seven-point lead at the summit of the Premiership.