On-song Celtic break Hearts
The pressure building around Celtic manager Ronny Deila cleared a little last night as the Hoops beat Hearts 3-0 to move into the last eight of the League Cup.
John Guidetti, Kris Commons (right) and an own goal from Adam Eckersley earned Celtic the win with the game swinging their way early in the second half when Commons scored from the penalty spot a minute after Hearts striker Oslam Sow had sent a penalty over the bar.
With Commons and Scott Brown restored to the starting XI there was a greater energy and purpose about Celtic's play as they attempt to implement Deila style of play.
Celtic should have taken the lead in the 15th minute when Guidetti latched onto a moment of hesitation between Alim Ozturk and goalkeeper Neil Alexander but with the goal at his mercy the on-loan Manchester City striker stabbed his shot wide of the post.
Nine minutes later Guidetti made amends with his first goal for Celtic. A deep cross from Emilio Izaguirre was headed back by a Hearts defender with Guidetti gleefully smashing a half volley into the net from eight yards out.
Celtic could have doubled their lead minutes later when Stokes redirected a Callum McGregor shot goalwards forcing Eckersley into a desperate goal-line clearance.
Guidetti's goal had certainly taken the wind out of Hearts with Alexander forced into a spectacular save from team-mate Morgaro Gomis in the 38th minute following another testing delivery from Izaguirre.
Celtic were given a warning in the final minute of the first half when Walker shot against the crossbar after racing onto a short pass-back from Izaguirre with the hoops happy to reach the interval with their lead intact. Eoghan O'Connell replaced Jason Denayer at the break with the game exploding into life ten minutes into the second half with penalties at either end of the park.
Sow was first up to the penalty spot but sent his shot high over the bar after tumbling in the box following a clash with Virgil van Dijk. Sixty seconds later Celtic made the most of that reprieve when Commons fired into the net from 12 yards out after Guidetti had hit the deck under pressure from Ozturk.
The misery continued for the visitors in the hour mark when Eckersley, under no real pressure from a Celtic player, chested the ball past Alexander six yards out.