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Celtic beat Hearts to open up two-point lead over Rangers


Glasgow (AFP) – Celtic stretched their perfect start to the Scottish Premiership season to four games with a hard-fought 2-0 win over Hearts on Sunday to move two points above Rangers at the top of the table.

Kyogo Furuhashi and Giorgos Giakoumakis got the goals for the Hoops as the visitors ended with nine men due to late red cards for Alex Cochrane and Tony Sibbick.

Hearts’ focus appeared to be on Thursday’s Europa League qualifier against Swiss champions FC Zurich as manager Robbie Neilson left a number of key players on the bench.

Celtic looked set to take full advantage when Furuhashi turned in Daizen Maeda’s cross for his third goal of the season on 13 minutes.

However, the champions found more goalscoring chances hard to come by and Josh Ginnelly should have levelled for the visitors when he dragged wide with just Joe Hart to beat.

Hearts stayed in the game for most of the second period, but failed to register a single shot on target to trouble Hart.

Their resistence was broken when Cochrane and Sibbick saw second bookings in the final few minutes for bringing down Liel Abada.

Celtic made their numerical advantage count with the last kick off the game as Giakoumakis stretched to turn home Josip Juranovic’s low cross.

Victory takes Celtic back above Rangers, who dropped their first points of the season in an eventful 2-2 draw at Hibs on Saturday.

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