Hoops in a Jam after defeat

Celtic's SPL title hopes suffered a severe blow after second-half goals from Rudi Skacel and Ryan Stevenson gave Hearts a 2-0 win on Sunday.

Last Updated: 02/10/11 at 16:14

Commons: Sees red at Tynecastle

Commons: Sees red at Tynecastle

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

There were near misses at both ends before Skacel broke the deadlock in the 58th minute with an unstoppable drive from the edge of the box.

Celtic were further disarmed when midfielder Kris Commons, who had just returned to the Hoops starting line-up, was shown a straight card by referee Craig Thomson in the 65th minute for a reckless challenge on Adrian Mrowiec.

And as the 10-man visitors piled forward in search of an equaliser, Stevenson scored a breakaway second in the 80th minute to leave Celtic in third place behind Motherwell and 10 points behind leaders Rangers, albeit with one game in hand.

The Parkhead club will now have the international break to regroup but that is of little concern to the home supporters who cheered their side off the pitch at the end of an exciting afternoon.

There was pressure on Celtic manager Neil Lennon before the game after Rangers had increased their lead with victory against Hibernian on Saturday, but all eyes were on the Hoops boss for other reasons, the Irishman having being attacked at the touchline the last time the Parkhead side visited Gorgie in May.

As a consequence of that eventful night, security was beefed up.

One fan was ejected from the Hearts section of the ground before the game began which drew huge cheers from the travelling support and which cranked up the atmosphere.

Jambos owner, Vladimir Romanov, the Russian-born Lithuanian businessman, was in attendance, two months after his last visit to Tynecastle for a game signalled the end for previous manager Jim Jefferies.

So the ingredients were all there for yet another classic tussle between these two clubs and the game, predictably, began amid a din and at breakneck speed.

In the fourth minute Celtic keeper Fraser Forster made a good save from Jambos' lone-striker Stevenson who had escaped his marker to get in a header.

Moments later, Hearts skipper Marius Zaliukas struck the post with a left-footed shot from the edge of the box.

Celtic roared back and in the 20th minute they should have taken the lead when James Forrest's cross from the right found Mohamed Bangura but his close-range header was brilliantly saved by Jamie MacDonald.

Seconds later, following the corner, the Hearts keeper made another good save at his near post from Commons' drive.

The game roared from end to end with tackles flying in all over the pitch.

In the 26th minute Skacel was booked for a late challenge on Hoops stand-in skipper Charlie Mulgrew, before Parkhead playmaker Ki Sung-yueng was shown yellow for fouling Skacel.

On the half-hour mark, after Hoops midfielder Victor Wanyama was penalised for his challenge on Ian Black at the edge of the box, with Forster diving to prevent Jamie Hamill's free-kick from going in.

Celtic responded again and MacDonald made a fine block from Commons' powerful drive from just inside the box, beating the ball away to safety and the pace never let up until the break.

The interval allowed everyone to get their breath back but when play commenced it was the visitors who took the initiative and Commons had another long-distance effort which was dealt with comfortably by MacDonald.

Celtic pressed with purpose but in the 58th minute Hearts took the lead with a fine strike by Skacel.

Hamill's high ball from the right fell out of the air and, when it broke from David Templeton, the Czech midfielder arrowed in a unstoppable left-footed drive from the edge of the box to give Forster no chance.

With the home fans still celebrating, Lennon immediately replaced Mohamed Bangura with Anthony Stokes.

In the 65th minutes there was more trouble for the Parkhead men when Commons was sent off for a reckless challenge on Mrowiec in the middle of the park.

It was mayhem inside Tynecastle as Celtic reshuffled and threw everything in search of an equaliser, while leaving themselves open to the counter-attack.

In the 72nd minute Mark Wilson had to replace the injured Adam Matthews and he drew a save from MacDonald moments later with an angled shot.

Hearts had to defend desperately at times but in the 80th minute Stevenson made it 2-0 when, with the Hoops defence stretched and struggling with a long Danny Grainger punt, he ran on to clever back-heel from Templeton and drove high past Forster from 10 yards.

It was the final blow to the visitors who know they have some work to do if they are to catch Rangers, even this early in the season.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

More Match Results

Saturday, 21 March 2015
Celtic 3-0 Dundee U Report
Partick 1-0 Inverness Report
Ross Co 2-1 Kilmarnock  
St J'stone 2-0 St Mirren  
Dundee 1-1 Aberdeen  
Friday, 20 March 2015
Motherwell 4-0 Hamilton Report
Saturday, 14 March 2015
Hamilton 2-2 Ross Co Report
Kilmarnock 1-0 St Mirren Report
Partick 3-0 St J'stone Report
Friday, 13 March 2015
Aberdeen 2-1 Motherwell  

Footer 365

Arsenal are repoortedly keen to sign Liverpool's Raheem Sterling

Arsenal are interested in signing Liverpool's Raheem Sterling, with the winger set to reject his offer of a new deal.

European Qualifiers round-up: Wins for Germany, Portugal and Romania

Goals from Marco Reus and Thomas Muller gave Germany victory over Georgia while Portugal beat Serbia to go top of Group I.

Luis Suarez rules out joining any English club but Liverpool

Luis Suarez refused to rule out a return to Liverpool and insists he will never play for another Premier League club.

Mail Box

FA Refusing To Learn From Germany

We have a postcard from Germany in the Mailbox highlighting how Greg Dyke's quick-fix approach is all wrong. Also, the clamour for Kane, and size matters, apparently...

Where's The Love For Walcott?

Theo Walcott is wanted by neither Arsenal or Liverpool fans in the afternoon Mailbox. Also, some good points on the FA skewed priorities, and glorious geekery...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company