Celtic have the Scottish Premiership title within touching distance, after securing a 4-1 win over Hearts at Celtic Park.
The Hoops now have a nine point advantage over rivals Rangers, with a sizeable goal difference, all but securing the trophy before the Light Blues play on Sunday.
But it wasn’t the start Ange Postecoglou’s side would have wanted, after an early Hearts burst led to Ellis Simms smashing the ball past Joe Hart after just three minutes.
Celtic responded with a period of sustained possession, and utilised the wings well with Daizen Maeda providing chances.
Kyogo Furuhashi was denied by a smart Craig Gordon stop, after the Scotland number one had already saved a David Turnbull effort from close range.
Maeda’s efforts were rewarded with a smart finish to level the scoring but the goal was all about a mazy run from Jota that took out the entire Hearts defense.
It was his fellow countryman that put Celtic into the lead, after O’Riley’s cross was nodded back towards the goal line by Jota, where Kyogo challenged Kingsley and managed to get a connection.
Craig Gordon swatted the ball out and claimed it didn’t cross the line but replays showed that the goal stood, bringing an entertaining first half to an end.
In the second half, a goal line scramble nearly led to a third Celtic goal but O’Riley couldn’t get the ball under control before the Englishman smashed the post on the hour.
The former MK Dons man finally got his reward as he found the bottom corner from a cross to give Celtic breathing room.
Postecoglou’s men began to dominate and were denied by the offside flag on a few occasions towards the end of the game.
Giorgos Giakoumakis then smashed the ball into the net with a few minutes to play, putting the icing on top of the cake.
But the Hoops faithful will now feel the title is closer than ever, with a win at Tannadice on Wednesday officially confirming the trophy heading to the east end of Glasgow.
Express Sport took a look at the best and worst performers at Celtic Park:
Joe Hart 7 – Very little to do in terms of goal mouth action but distribution was solid.
Greg Taylor 7 – Lost the ball too easily and was caught out of position by Ginnelly but improved as the game went on.
Carl Starfelt 7 – Let balls loose and outmuscled by Simms for the first goal but did settle into the game with some important challenges.
Cameron Carter-Vickers 8 – A solid showing from the center half again with no problems.
Anthony Ralston 6 – Poor service into the area from him and had plenty of Hearts pressure to deal with.
Callum McGregor 8 – Played with great pace and provided plenty of service. His tracking back was sublime until the last minute.
David Turnbull 5 – Not the fastest of displays probably owing to time out of the team.
Matt O’Riley 9 – A spirited showing, swinging balls into the area and making good options. Smashed the post on the hour and got his reward with a nice finish with twenty to go.
Jota 9 – An incredible mazy run to set up Maeda’s goal and all-round energetic showing, star of the show again.
Daizen Maeda 8 – Set up a good few chances in the first half and was rewarded with a cool finish to level the game. Great touch and strength from him.
Kyogo 8 – Was in the right spot to scramble a header over the line after a quick start to the game, another crucial part to play today.
Giorgos Giakoumakis 7 – A strong display in the final moments from the big striker with a great finish.
Liel Abada 7 – An energetic display and could have scored with a bit of luck.
Reo Hatate 6 – Went close towards the end and played well.
Tom Rogic 6 – Involved in attacking late on.
James Forrest 6 – Set up a few chances late on including for Giakoumakis’ goal.
Craig Gordon 7 – Good save from a Turnbull effort and Kyogo shot early on. Ball went through his legs for the equaliser. Scrambled the ball out but it crossed the line for Kyogo’s goal, really kept his side in the game.
Stephen Kingsley 6 – Cleared an O’Riley chance from going in and defended admirably but couldn’t clear danger for Celtic’s second.
Nathaniel Atkinson 6 – Smart defensive play under plenty of pressure.
Peter Haring 5 – A relatively anonymous display and was drawn into fouls.
Taylor Moore 5 – Dealt with the tough task of tracking Kyogo early on but lost control in the second half.
Toby Sibbick 5 – Did deal with some danger late on but quarreled in the midfield battle.
Alex Cochrane 7 – Provided a dangerous ball into the area that led to the first goal and defended well.
Barrie McKay 6 – Rolled up his sleeves at the back and drew fouls. Came into the game in attacking sense in the second half.
Josh Ginnelly 7 – Showed great pace to trouble the Celtic defense early on.
Ellis Simms 8 – A bullet goal inside the first three minutes after some top play and used his strength well.
Liam Boyce 6 – Didn’t have as many chances as usual but contributed to the attack with an assist for Simms.
Gary Mackay-Steven 6 – Had a few chances late on.
Ben Woodburn 5 – Little impact in the final moments.
Murray Thomas 4 – Played the final few moments.
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