THE Celtic fans among the 16,777 crowd on a sunny afternoon at Tynecastle on August 7 2016 didn’t realise it, but they were witnessing the birth of the team that would be acclaimed as The Invincibles at the end of the season.
Brendan Rodgers was taking his bow in a competitive domestic game for the first time and the new Hoops boss, who had replaced Ronny Deila in May, realised it was imperative to get off to a winning start against a strong team at a difficult venue.
James Forrest provided the early goal when he swept a shot beyond keeper Jack Hamilton in the eighth minute, but referee John Beaton awarded the hosts a dodgy penalty-kick in the 36th minute.
NUMBER ONE…James Forrest strikes the first league goal in Brendan Rodgers’ first stint as he celebrates his opener against Hearts at Tynecastle on August 7 2016. Leigh Griffiths and Scott Brown prepare to join in.
NUMBER TWO…Scott Sinclair whips in the winner shortly after his arrival from the bench.
Jamie Walker went down theatrically after a non-challenge from Kieran Tierney. He recovered to slot the award beyond Craig Gordon. The Hearts player later picked up a retrospective two-game ban from the SFA for his obvious dive.
Scott Sinclair, who had just signed a £4.5million switch from Aston Villa shortly before the game, came on as a 61st minute substitute for Stuart Armstrong and he delivered the winner with nine minutes to go when he sidefooted in a superb left-wing cross from Leigh Griffiths.
It was the start of something wonderful as Rodgers and Celtic won 34 and drew four of the 38 Premiership games as they thundered through the league game without a defeat.
Callum McGregor, who will captain the team this afternoon against Ross County on Flag Day at Parkhead, is one of only two Hoops survivors from the 18 players in the matchday squad in Edinburgh – the other, of course, is the evergreen Forrest.
TEAM: Gordon; Lustig, O’Connell (sub: Rogic 73), Toure, Tierney; McGregor, Brown, Armstrong (sub: Sinclair 61); Forrest, Griffiths (Sub: Janko 83), Dembele. Unused subs: Fasan, Izaguirre, Johansen and Ciftci.
* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Celtic v Ross County this afternoon – only in your champion CQN.