Hearts join list of Premiership sides to self-destruct

Hearts' Christophe Berra during Friday's 5-0 defeat. Pic: SNS/Ross Parker
Hearts' Christophe Berra during Friday's 5-0 defeat. Pic: SNS/Ross Parker
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Hearts’ capitulation to Livingston on Friday - where they conceded five goals in 14 minutes and had Arnaud Djoum sent off - was as remarkable as it was surprising.

There was little to suggest in the 70 minutes prior to Zdenek Zlamal conceding a penalty for a foul on Craig Halkett that Hearts were about to be blown away.

But Craig Levein’s side fell to pieces in the aftermath of the first goal, which Halkett himself converted, leaving the manager embarrassed and the fans furious.

It will be cold comfort to the players that they’re by no means the first team in recent years to collectively crumble in the face of adversity:

Rangers 7 - 1 Motherwell (11th November, 2018)

You don’t need to go back much further than a month to find evidence of another Scottish Premiership team collapsing against a league opponent. Motherwell had shown grit to level against Rangers at Ibrox in November after Scott Arfield had given the home side an early lead.

The tone changed in the 34th minute as Carl McHugh conceded a penalty and was sent off for a second bookable offence. James Tavernier converted and Alfredo Morelos scored soon after to make it 3-1. In the second half, Rangers notched another four with little resistance from the visitors as they strolled to victory.

St Johnstone 0 - 6 Celtic (7th October, 2018)

Since this thumping by Celtic, St Johnstone have conceded only two goals in eight games. They had lost 5-1 a few weeks earlier to Rangers but recent form - and Wright’s past history - suggests these results were something of an anomaly.

The Perth side offered little resistance on the day to Brendan Rodgers’ team though, shipping five goals before the first half was over. James Forrest was the main profiteer, netting four, with Odsonne Edouard also adding his name to the scoresheet.

With the damage already done, a lone Callum McGregor goal accounted for the scoring in the second half.

Hearts 0 - 7 Celtic (1st December, 2013)

Friday wasn’t the first time a Hearts side have been embarrassed in December. Five years ago, Neil Lennon’s Celtic arrived at Tynecastle on the back of a European defeat to AC Milan and quickly put that disappointment defeat to bed, racking up five goals in the opening 45 minutes of their Scottish Cup tie.

Kris Commons scored twice in the first half and completed his hat-trick before the hour mark, while Scott Brown netted twice as Celtic romped past Gary Locke’s callow Hearts side.

Hibernian 0 - 7 Malmo (25th July, 2013)

Hibs had their own home nightmare during season 2013/14, as four goals in the space of 20 first half minutes put paid to any chances they had of over-hauling Malmo’s 2-0 lead from the first leg of their Europa League tie.

After keeping the game scoreless in the opening 20 minutes Hibs allowed the floodgates to open, conceding in the 21st, 26th, 30th and 41st minutes to put the fixture beyond any doubt. The Easter Road side’s chances were hampered during the onslaught by an injury to James McPake and the Swedes continued their demolition after the break, hitting three more as the game wound down.

Celtic 9 - 0 Aberdeen (6th November 2010)

Normally, when sides go goal-crazy in the first half, there tends to be a let up in the second 45. With the game already won, both teams often settle into a languid rhythm; one side happy to play keep-ball and the other keen to escape further punishment.

This wasn’t the case at Parkhead in 2010 as Celtic’s second half performance eclipsed their dominant first. After scoring four before the break they returned to blast another five past the despairing Dons, with Anthony Stokes and Gary Hooper both claiming hat-tricks.

Despite it being the worst result in Aberdeen’s history, manager Mark McGhee held onto his job until the beginning of December.