Fans at Celtic Park were treated to an imperious display of attacking football on Sunday afternoon as The Hoops bulldozed their way past a Hearts team left dazed and confused. Robbie Neilson and his men will be waking up this morning wondering how this is the same team they picked up three points against, just two weeks earlier.
Celtic were absolutely scintillating from the first whistle. In my match preview, I predicted the team would be out for revenge and want to punish Hearts hard and early. Postecoglou's men didn't disappoint.
The visitors were unable to keep pace with Celtic's energy, intensity and creativity as the front three of Forrest, Furuhashi and Edouard proved unplayable at times. The home team could've been 3-0 up before a revitalised, Edouard slotted home Forrest's cutback after a sumptuous ball to the Scotland winger from the outside of Furuhashi's boot. The little man from Japan proving he's equally adept at creating opportunities as scoring them.
Steven Welsh added a second after a quickly-taken short corner between Kyogo and Edouard. The young defender rose above his marker, with a leap that wouldn't look out of place in a school of salmon, before arrowing a pinpoint header into the bottom corner.
Postecoglou welcomed his team into the dressing room at half time with Celtic registering 82% possession and 21 shots, restricting Hearts to zero attempts. I don't quite know what a performance 'full-of-ruth' is but this display had none of it. It was unequivocally ruthless!
Celtic continued their dominance until just before the hour mark when Starfelt was less than convincing in an attempt to intercept a cross meant for Liam Boyce and proceeded to bring down the Northern Irishman in the box, who duly converted the spot kick.
Man of the Match, Kyogo Furuhashi, restored the two-goal cushion less than ten minutes later with a smart left-footed finish beyond a busy Craig Gordon at his near post, on his return to Parkhead.
Postecoglou then introduced James McCarthy for his debut on 75 minutes but it was Neilson's men who managed to find the net again through Aaron McEneff in the second minute of injury time.
A scoreline of 3-2 flatters Hearts more than the words I have left to describe it, and it's the smallest of blemishes on an otherwise impeccable performance from Celtic.
Next up, AZ Alkmaar in the Europa League Play-off.