A battling Hearts performance saw them come from behind to beat Celtic and record their first win in three games – moving up to seventh place in the process.
While the visitors made seven changes, injuries denied Hearts the services of experienced African midfielders Larry Kingston and David Obua, their places being taken by David Templeton and Ismael Bouzid.
But the young Hearts line-up signalled their intention by harassing Celtic from the off and, although the visitors looked the more dangerous, it was the home side who produced the first shot on target.
Eggert Jonsson’s 25-yard drive was straight down the throat of goalkeeper Artur Boruc, but Georgios Samaras inspired Celtic’s response.
The Greek striker did well to drift off his marker but could only head into the arms of Marian Kello from a tight angle and then forced the goalkeeper to superbly palm wide a low drive.
Hearts perhaps ought to have taken the lead following a fine cross to the back post from Ruben Palazuelos. Templeton fluffed his shot and, although the Hearts forward was first to react, he should have got his header over the stranded Boruc on target, although there was a defender lurking on the goal-line.
Celtic’s relief turned to joy moments later and it was that man Samaras who gave them the lead. Scott McDonald peeled away from marker Michael Stewart to head a Barry Robson corner off the far post and Samaras was first to react and fired low into the net from eight yards.
Celtic began to dominate, but a mistake from Glenn Loovens handed Hearts the chance to level. The Dutch internationalist defender failed with an attempt to chest clear and, as the ball fell for Jamie Mole, Gary Caldwell came in from behind to clip the striker’s heel.
It was the slightest of touches, but, with the defender being the last man and, having given the penalty, referee Willie Collum had no choice but to give the Scotland defender his marching orders.
Stewart made amends for his role in Celtic’s goal by sending Boruc the wrong way from the penalty spot.
Celtic came out with greater resolve and Aiden McGeady fired a drive against the post and Samaras curled an effort just wide. The visitors then ought to have taken the lead following a mistake from Jose Goncalves, with McDonald stealing the ball from the defender on the by-line and cutting it back to Samaras 16 yards out with the goal minus a goalkeeper.
However, the Greek player rushed his chip over a couple of defenders and it lifted clear of the crossbar.
Hearts were struggling to make their extra man tell, but a superb run and curling cross from Templeton set up the Edinburgh side’s second goal.
The teenager ran past Marc-Antoine Fortune, who had replaced McDonald, before finding Bouzid ghosting in at the back post to power his header home from ten yards.
Hearts: Kello, Wallace, Goncalves, Bouzid, Jonsson, Palazeulos, Stewart, Thomson, Mole, Templeton, Robinson.