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Dembele inspires as Celtic get revenge on Hearts for ending their unbeaten run

The Frenchman was on target along with Odsonne Edouard and Dedryck Boyata, while Kyle Lafferty scored for the visitors.

Celtic goalscorers Odsonne Edouard and Moussa Dembele.
Celtic goalscorers Odsonne Edouard and Moussa Dembele.
Image: Andrew Milligan

MOUSSA DEMBELE WAS key in Celtic’s revenge mission against Hearts as he scored one and provided two assists in a 3-1 Scottish Premiership win tonight.

Hearts had shocked the Scottish champions just six weeks previously as they ended Celtic’s record-breaking 69-match unbeaten domestic run with a 4-0 thrashing at Tynecastle.

However, that performance must have seemed like a distant memory to Hearts at Parkhead as they watched Dembele set up Odsonne Edouard to fire the Hoops ahead in the third minute before he provided the assist for Dedryck Boyata’s second in the 25th.

The French forward — linked with a move away from the Hoops in the transfer window — then scored his first goal since 26 November when he made it 3-0 in the 36th minute.

Kyle Lafferty grabbed a second-half consolation strike for Hearts as their 12-match unbeaten run was brought to a halt.

Victory means Celtic extend their lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership to 14 points ahead of Aberdeen’s match with Ross County on Wednesday.

There was no hiding Celtic’s desire for vengeance as they pressed Hearts from the start.

The Jambos had been heading to a ninth consecutive clean sheet before Motherwell’s Curtis Main grabbed a 90th-minute equaliser on Saturday.

However, it took Celtic less than three minutes to find a way past Jon McLaughlin thanks to the pace and composure of Edouard.

Dembele laid the ball off to his fellow Frenchman just inside the Celtic half and the striker left three Hearts players trailing as he burst forward and lifted over the keeper and into the net.

A second wasn’t far away and it from the unlikely source of Boyata.

James Forrest got in front of Demetri Mitchell to head the ball into the box for Dembele who released Boyata, with the Belgian defender drilling the ball through the legs of McLaughlin.

Dembele had failed to shine when he came on as the replacement for the injured Leigh Griffiths in the weekend win over Hibs.

However, the French forward rediscovered the form that saw him bag 32 strikes last season as he finally got the goal his play deserved 10 minutes before the break.

Scott Brown’s robust challenge on Harry Cochrane on the edge of the Celtic box started a quick breakaway as the ball found its way to Kieran Tierney.

The left-back turned Connor Randall inside out before clipping the ball to the near post where Dembele provided the deftest of touches to direct it into the net.

The Hoops started the second half in a similar fashion with Dembele curling a shot just over before Edouard twice came close.

However, they were made to pay for their misses when Lafferty handed Hearts a 67th-minute lifeline with a lovely low strike that denied Dorus de Vries a clean sheet in only his second start of the season in place of the injured Craig Gordon.

Source: LiveGoalsFeed/YouTube

- © AFP, 2018 

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