Hearts 1-0 Celtic: Kyle Lafferty condemns Scottish champions to humiliating defeat

Kyle Lafferty celebrates the victory after his decisive blow to Hearts as a gift, a victory against Celtic

Brendan Rodgers spent much of his week lamenting the slowness of the transfer business at Celtic. Yesterday afternoon he cursed the Rangers for their lack of urgency to reach an agreement.

While the Parkhead hierarchy was advancing miserably on John McGinn before Aston Villa knocked him down, the Ibrox club was left with its own unsatisfactory offer for Kyle Lafferty.

Then the North Irishman was at Craig Levein's disposal. And how he knew how to use it to punish a Celtic side among the main and nervous European missions.

Kyle Lafferty celebrates the victory after his decisive blow to Hearts as a gift, a victory against Celtic

Kyle Lafferty celebrates the victory after his decisive blow to Hearts as a gift, a victory against Celtic

The demand forward fired from his home in the second half after losing two chances in the first half

The demand forward fired from his home in the second half after losing two chances in the first half

The demand forward fired from his home in the second half after losing two chances in the first half

Rodgers remained unbeaten in his first 68 national games as manager of Celtic before beating 4-0 Hearts last December.

A defeat that the champions could easily dismiss as unique, accepting the end of an amazing race. This, of course, indicated much more.

Crashing at a Tynecastle loss after five changes and a new update on their starting lineup highlighted even more a point that Rodgers has been hammering home. That staying still does not work for him.

Hearts lost his talismanic tower of strength Christophe Berra throughout the second half, so the fact that Celtic has not given the debutant Zdenek Zlamal more than a moment of concern is worrying for the champions.

That was after a trade that saw Leigh Griffiths replaced by £ 9 million Odsonne Edouard. As Rodgers warned, it's going to take more than that record rate to help Celtic take steps forward that he craves.

Of course, with the Champions League in mind, Rodgers had to make changes, all with a nod to Athens on Tuesday.

Those that did not work were the return of Jozo Simunovic. The central half was unstable on several occasions, not least when giving away possession for the only goal of the game.

Hearts midfielder Peter Haring proved influential in the middle of the park

Hearts midfielder Peter Haring proved influential in the middle of the park

Hearts midfielder Peter Haring proved influential in the middle of the park

As for Eboue Kouassi, he was not a stability figure sitting with Scott Brown.

That was a clear comparison with the similar role of the giant Peter Haring and the dominant display at home. The Austrian was one of Levein's best players.

Which brings us back to Lafferty. His desire for a great game against Celtic was too much for a manager to resist. Three times he scored against Celtic last season.

Restricted to replace roles against Inverness and Hamilton, since the interest of Rangers broke, Lafferty had to re-enter. He had almost left again.

When he bent over Mikael Lustig, they enlisted, there was a relief for Hearts that only a yellow card was shown.

Berra knew it and a hand quickly landed on Lafferty's shoulder to issue a friendly warning to go with John Beaton's warning, one of five for the local team.

PARTY FACTS

Hearts: (4-1-4-1) Zlamal; Smith, Souttar, Berra (Hughes 45), Garuccio; Haring; Mulraney (Bozanic 74), Lee, Naismith, Lafferty (Cochrane 82); Ikpeazu.

Objective: Lafferty, 56

Unused Subs: Doyle, MacLean, McDonald, Morrison

I booked: Lafferty, Mulraney, Garuccio, Naismith, Smith.

Celtic: (4-2-3-1) Gordon; Lustig, Simunovic, Hendry, Tierney; Kouassi (Rogic 70), Brown; Sinclair, McGregor, Hayes (Edouard 63); Griffiths (Forrest 63)

Unused subs: Bain, Ntcham, Ajer, Johnston.

Reserved: Griffiths, Hendry.

Assistance: 19,113.

Referee: John Beaton.

He played on the left, but appeared on the right to offer the first test to the visiting goal. Not for the last time, Uche Ikpeazu pulled Simunovic out of his comfort zone and cut a deep cross.

Lafferty rose above Tierney, her head resting on the arms of Craig Gordon.

Simunovic's day refused to calm down intelligently. Tynecastle howled for a kick, claiming a Simunovic boat on Steven Naismith finding the cross of Jake Mulraney.

Gordon hit a snapshot of Naismith and then made a good shot from Lafferty from 25 yards.

Scott Sinclair was one of the Celtic changes and, in the place where his spectacular first season was launched with a winner, he was as agile and evasive for an opponent as he had been for a long time.

He clicked with Tierney to take effect, showing a great opportunity through the lens.

Griffiths' free throw experience was hampered by the rust and inactivity of the early season. He was weak and unruly with one in the ideal territory.

Sinclair was the spark of the closest Celtic. Once again, in Tierney's encounter, Griffiths picked up his turn and feeding at a gallop, who was forced to deviate, but maintained control and balance to shoot a shot with his right foot past Zlamal. Michael Smith was superbly positioned on the line to start clean.

But the close shave had a huge cost for Hearts. In the process of trying to tame Griffiths, Berra twisted awkwardly when her nails tangled in the grass. He was sent off with what could be a serious injury to the hamstring.

Dejected Celtic players applaud their traveling fans after falling defeated

Dejected Celtic players applaud their traveling fans after falling defeated

Dejected Celtic players applaud their traveling fans after falling defeated

The clash of these clubs would not be the same without a bad threat. Jonny Hayes and Naismith clashed. With no one left alone, with Hayes seemingly injured, Naismith poured gasoline into the fire forcing his boot into the back of the Irishman and then yelled into his ear as he lay on the lawn.

With Aaron Hughes in Berra, he and skipper John Souttar stood their ground to avoid Celtic's best spell at the start of the second half. Zlamal said goodbye to Lustig and then spilled a shot from Griffiths, but hurriedly kept track of Callum McGregor.

An interception by Hariro de Simunovic was the trigger of the winner of the match. Hearts swarmed forward, with Naismith taking control and feeding Ikpeazu. The bustling advance that overtook Jack Hendry in the inner right channel created space for a ball inside the box that caught the Celtic defense.

It was there that Lafferty's time and composure took control. Sixteen meters away, he took the delivery in the fall to fire a left foot volley through Scott Brown's legs and past the unseen Gordon in the bottom corner. An impressive finish

After Michael Smith issued another warning on the crossbar, Rodgers made two changes with James Forrest and Edouard for Griffiths and Hayes. Rogic for Kouassi followed with 20 minutes to go.

Preventing Rogic from getting free and obtaining a vision of the objective was key. Hearts administered it.

Lafferty was not the only Hearts striker to whom Levein demanded a full and diligent turn, and got everything from the defenses. The boss of The Hearts got his wish for every man in garnet. In fact, Lafferty gave everything and a little more.

A small boy asked for his autograph next to the dugout and left with the signature and top of Hearts of his hero.

That is a guardian. It remains to be seen if the forward is like that for this Hearts squad. But that goal was to leave something behind if the Rangers simply run into the Old Firm trend of the moment and meet the transfer demands of a fellow Scottish club.

Celtic now face AEK Athens in the second leg of the Champions League

Celtic now face AEK Athens in the second leg of the Champions League

Celtic now face AEK Athens in the second leg of the Champions League

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