KYLE LAFFERTY’S 56th-minute strike was enough to separate Hearts and Celtic in a bruising Ladbrokes Premiership tussle at Tynecastle.
The encounter demonstrated the enthusiasm and energy of Scottish football more than the talent and technique, although the returning Northern Irishman’s volley from the edge of the box in the second half was fit to win any match.
Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers rang the changes from the midweek game against AEK Athens and found he did not have enough strength in depth to overcome a battling Gorgie side as the visitors slipped to a 1-0 defeat.
It was a tough work-out for the champions ahead of the second leg of their Champions League qualifier in Greece on Tuesday night, where, following a 1-1 draw at Parkhead in midweek, the Hoops hope to progress through to the play-off stage.
That challenge will certainly be more technical than the one they encountered in Gorgie, not that Hearts boss Craig Levein and his side will care too much after taking six points from their first two league matches.