Celtic thrash Hearts

PA Sport
Gary Hooper

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Gary Hooper

Celtic stretched their lead over Rangers at the top of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League to four points with a sound 4-0 thrashing of Hearts at Tynecastle.

Seconds after Stephen Elliott's second-minute header appeared to cross the line before being blocked by Celtic midfielder Joe Ledley, Hoops skipper Scott Brown drove low past Jambos keeper Jamie MacDonald for the opener.

Midfielder Victor Wanyama and Ledley made it 3-0 at the interval before striker Gary Hooper concluded the romp on the hour mark with a typical poacher's goal from close range.

In the second minute Andrew Driver's corner from the right found Andy Webster at the back post and his header back across goal was met a couple of yards out by Elliott.

The Jambos' striker seemed certain to score but his header was blocked by Ledley, although television pictures suggested the ball was over the line before it was scrambled away by Parkhead keeper Fraser Forster. However, there was no whistle from referee Willie Collum, or flag from assistant Andy Tait, to signal a goal.

Celtic raced up the park and when the ball broke to Brown, following a cross from James Forrest, he slammed the ball past MacDonald from 12 yards for his fourth goal in four games.

From then on it was all too easy for Celtic. With Team GB coach Stuart Pearce watching from the main stand, there was more woe for Hearts in the 20th minute when they failed to clear properly a Charlie Mulgrew corner from the left. Forrest returned the ball into the box and it broke for Wanyama who fired high past the helpless MacDonald.

The Gorgie men all but unravelled thereafter and in the 31st minute, after skipper Marius Zaliukas had conceded possession to Brown, they found themselves three down.

With the Jambos defence all over the place, Hooper fed Georgios Samaras down the left and he skipped easily past Ryan McGowan before crossing for Ledley to head into an empty net.

On the hour, Hooper set up Ledley and his low drive hit the far post and rebounded off Daniel Grainger for a corner. Mulgrew fired the ball over and when Wanyama headed it back in the centre, Hooper pounced to knock the ball over the line from barely a yard out.

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