GLASGOW (AFP) - Celtic stayed top of the Scottish Premier League on goal difference from Rangers after running out 3-0 winners over Hearts on Saturday as the Old Firm rivals went six points clear.
Hearts had looked the more likely to score before Jamie Forrest tapped in Daryl Murphy's cross to give the Hoops the lead with a goal on the break that had more than a hint of off-side.
Shaun Maloney doubled the lead just before half-time and substitute Paddy McCourt rounded off the win with a superb individual goal in injury time as Celtic made it four wins out of four.
Rangers warmed up for their Champions League clash against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Tuesday with a last gasp 2-1 win away to Hamilton.
In what was his first start since his move from Rapid Vienna Nikica Jelavic headed Rangers into a sixth-minute lead before a second-half own goal from Madjid Bougherra hauled Hamilton level.
However substitute Kenny Miller came to the rescue when his 90th-minute lob preserved the Ibrox side's 100 percent start to the league campaign.
Celtic manager Neil Lennon said his side had been sloppy in possession early on against Hearts.
"It took us 20 minutes to get a foothold in the game. At 2-0 you are not relaxed until the third goal goes in," he said.
"There are aspects we need to improve on but overall I'm very pleased."
Jim Jefferies, who was sent to the stand for his reaction to Celtic's first goal, said referee Willie Collum had blundered by allowing the strike to stand. "There was no arguing about it, the boy was clearly offside," the Hearts boss said.
"You go from a situation where you are thinking that we were unlucky not to be 1-0 up then suddenly we are 1-0 down because of something you need someone to do their job properly and they didn't."
At Celtic Park, Hearts were without Lee Wallace and Marius Zaliukas to injury while Celtic handed a first start to Anthony Stokes who partnered Murphy up front.
It was the debutant who had the first chance of the match when he fired a low drive just wide of the post after being given time and space by the Hearts defence.
Kevin Kyle was presented with a golden opportunity to open the scoring for Hearts.
David Templeton's corner found him unmarked at the back post but his header was blocked on the line by Fraser Foster.
Hearts were rocked when Celtic took the lead with a goal from a quick counter-attack in the 28th minute.
Suso Santana cracked a fierce shot off Foster's post and a ball from defence sent Murphy, who looked off-side, racing clear.
The Irishman's cross from the right got stuck under the feet of Darren Barr allowing Forrest to tap in at the back post.
Celtic should have doubled their lead in the 43rd minute when Forrest sent the ball across goal but Maloney hesitated when all he had to do was tap into an empty net.
Maloney made amends a minute later when he made it 2-0. Stokes sent the Scotland star clear and he rounded Marian Kello and sent a low shot into the net past the outstretched legs of Eggert Jonsson.
Murphy created a chance for himself soon after the break when he barged Jonsson off the ball but Kello gathered the ball at his feet as he tried to round the keeper.
At the other end the pace of Suso was causing Celtic problems and Foster had to be alert to beat away his stinging strike from 15 yards.
Georgios Samaras replaced Murphy and the Greek immediately had the ball in the net after rounding Kello but it was ruled out for offside.
Substitute McCourt completed the win with a superb solo goal in injury time. The Northern Irishman beat three Hearts players before dinking the ball over the head of the out-rushing Kello.
Elsewhere Dundee United defeated Aberdeen 3-1, Motherwell won 2-0 away to St Johnstone, Kilmarnock ran out 2-1 winners over St Mirren and Hibs and Inverness drew 1-1.
|Coach: N. Lennon|
for S. Brown 61'
for D. Murphy 69'
for A. Stokes 77'
|Colombia Primera A Wrap: Santa Fe, Itagui held at home|
|Serie A Preview: Roma face huge test, Juve host Bologna|
|Liga MX Preview: Cruz Azul out to break Morelia drought|
|MLS: New York Red Bulls 2 Philadelphia Union 1|
|Copa Argentina Wrap: Talleres Cordoba, Defensa y Justicia advance|
|Ancelotti: Barca era not over|
|Martino unwilling to change Barca style|
|Barca confirm Alba hamstring injury|
|Ancelotti delighted with first Real trophy|
|Ki sidelined for up to two weeks|
|Pellegrini: Title race not over|
|Arsenal will drop points, insists Martinez|
|Guardiola hails Bayern fight after reaching final|
|Pulis hails battling Palace players|
|Poyet happy to avoid ´heart attack´|
|Coupe de France: Guingamp 3 Monaco 1|
|City haunted by Liverpool defeat - Pellegrini|
|Copa del Rey: Barcelona 1 Real Madrid 2|
|New MLS franchise for Atlanta|
|Del Nero elected CBF president|
|Premier League: Manchester City 2 Sunderland 2|
|Premier League: Everton 2 Crystal Palace 3|
|DFB-Pokal: Bayern Munich 5 Kaiserslautern 1|
|AFC Champions League Wrap: Pohang Steelers reach last 16|
|Krueger hopeful on Pochettino stay|
|La Liga Preview: Atletico Madrid v Elche|
|Ligue 1 Preview: Ajaccio facing relegation, Monaco aim to cut gap at top|
|Milan announce losses|
|Gradel relishing ´magical´ World Cup experience|
|Sturridge could make Norwich trip|
|Cibulkova, Mayr-Achleitner secure progression in Malaysia|
|Valencia desperate to keep Bernat|
|Lerner praises Cowans, Given|
|Championship Preview: Title glory in sight for Leicester|
|Conte talks set for end of season|
|Arrasate pens new Sociedad deal|
|Malanda to miss Wolfsburg run-in|
|Duff plans for Fulham departure|
|Buffon hails driving force Tevez|
|Garcia happy to wait on contract talks|
|Dejagah calls on fans to help with survival push|
|Kane backs Tottenham´s home-grown talent|
|No offers for Kroos, says agent|
|League One Preview: Brentford on the brink of promotion|
|Aluko admits to doubts over future|
|Hearts closer to exiting administration|
|Callejon: No regrets over Real exit|
|Blanc backed by PSG president|
|League Two Preview: Scunthorpe eye promotion while relegation battle heats up|
|Rode vows to succeed at Bayern|
|Poyet bemoans injury woes|
|Messi is mentally fatigued, says former Barca coach|
|Pellegrini has no regrets over Kompany|
|Olsson confident of fitness ahead of City test|
|Deschamps: We must proves ourselves at the World Cup|
|Milan must trust in youth, says Maldini|
|Martinez: We have that winning mentality|
|Jenkins: We need to survive and regroup|
|A-League Preview: Victory, Mariners favourites to stay alive|
|Beckham´s Miami stadium plans face opposition|
|Casillas, Real full of confidence|
|K-League Preview: Jeonnam, Jeonbuk do battle|
|CONCACAF Champions League: Cruz Azul 0 Toluca 0|
|Dortmund relieved to beat Wolfsburg|
|Arsenal sack Alfaro|
|Mineiro lose patience with tardy Anelka|
|Unfinished Sao Paulo stadium handed to Corinthians|
|Ranieri ignoring speculation|
|Giroud regaining confidence, says Wenger|
|Poyet: ´I´m not going to quit´|
|Allardyce laments costly defensive errors|
|Wenger delighted with Arsenal spirit|
|Coupe de France: Rennes 3 Angers 2|
|Football League Wrap: Barnsley off the bottom, Luton promoted|
|AFC Champions League Wrap: Guangzhou suffer shock defeat, Yokohama beat Jeonbuk|
|Premier League: Arsenal 3 West Ham 1|
|DFB-Pokal: Borussia Dortmund 2 Wolfsburg 0|
|Dyer: Bust-up claims blown out of proportion|
|Gundogan extends Dortmund contract|
|Laudrup backs Messi to shine in Copa final|
|Pellegrini: Liverpool defeat changes nothing|
|I have picked most of Italy squad - Prandelli|
|Mannone must wait for contract talks|
|Alex confident on new PSG deal|
|Wilmots signs four-year Belgium extension|
|Liverpool unites for Hillsborough anniversary|
|Nuremberg confirm Ott signing|
|Amalfitano keen on Premier League stay, says agent|
|Reinartz undergoes Achilles surgery|
|Villa suspend two backroom staff|
|Guardiola reveals Neuer doubt|
|Ancelotti urges Real to cut out errors|
|Fulham have seen the light, says Richardson|
|Chelsea interest in Costa ´normal´ - Simeone|
|Martino: Puyol could return against Real|
|Toure out for two weeks|
|Ronaldo to miss Copa del Rey final|
|Allardyce reveals Drmic scouting mission|
|Iniesta ´convinced´ of Copa del Rey success|
|Hillsborough behind emotional Gerrard reaction|
|Premier League to investigate Cardiff leak claims|
|Juve continue Scuffet praise|
|Returning players can aid survival, says Brunt|
|Martinez cools Barkley rumours|
|We do not go to Munich to swap shirts - Runjaic|
|Pulis eyes permanent deal for Ince|
|Ireland pens new Stoke deal|
|Llorente, Giovinco not getting carried away|
|Allardyce: Emirates expense behind Arsenal slump|
|Gago´s World Cup hopes hit|
|Treat Norwich like best team in the world, says Gerrard|
|Guidolin: Juventus were the better team|
|Sammer issues Bayern warning|
|Montanier warns Rennes ahead Angers clash|
|Berlusconi blocked Chelsea transfer, says Pirlo|
|Guzan: Villa desperate to reward fans|
|Anelka´s future remains unclear|
|Grobbelaar still haunted by Hillsborough disaster|
|Hecking: Wolfsburg can hurt Dortmund|
|Schuster questions Malaga´s effort|
|Paraguay Division Profesional Wrap: Libertad maintain unbeaten run|
|Inter confirm Torres interest|
|Pirlo: I thought about quitting|
|Swansea play down ´brawl´ reports|
|MLS Preview: Red Bulls, Timbers near breakthrough win|
|La Liga: Athletic Bilbao 3 Malaga 0|