ANGE POSTECOGLOU celebrated his 100th game in charge of Celtic in fine style as the champions came storming back from the loss of a goal to win again.

Goals from Daizen Maeda, Kyogo Furuhashi – who else? – and Sead Haksabanovic made certain the Hoops would maintain their nine-point advantage at the Premiership pinnacle.

The Hoops were made to battle all the way, but eventually their relentless play wore down their stubborn opponents and the title kings fully deserved their latest triumph.

The teams meet again in the Scottish Cup quarter-final at Tynecastle on Saturday afternoon and this was an excellent taster for that locking of horns.

THE EQUALISER…Daizen Maeda goes through his trademark goal celebrations.

In the sixth minute, Carl Starfelt released Maeda with a neat through pass on the left and the Japanese flyer took the ball in his stride, carried into the box, but he slashed the ball wide of the far post.

Within moments, Hearts took the lead in a lightning strike that caught out the Hoops defenders.

Andy Halliday whipped in a pass from the left and Josh Ginnelly raced in behind Starfelt to bullet a close-range header behind the helpless Joe Hart.

There was a delay as VAR checked the goal, but it was adjudged the Swede had played the rival marginally onside.

The Hoops reacted in the expected manner and Liel Abada was presented with a superb opportunity in the 22nd minute after a sparkling run down the left flank by Maeda.

The pacy raider left three opponents in his slipstream before hitting an inviting pass across the penalty area.

Abada hit the ball first-time from 12 yards, but his wayward attempt was well wide of Zander Clark’s left-hand post as the keeper breathed a sigh of relief.

BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING…Kyogo Furuhashi celebrates yet another goal with his image keeping an eye from the hoarding!

The Hoops equalised in the 25th minute when comeback Bhoy Anthony Ralston sent Kyogo Furuhashi running clear on the right.

The striker zipped the ball in and Maeda hurtled in at top speed to thump the ball past Clark from four yards.

The referee’s assistant waved his flag to signal offside and it was duly checked. There was little doubt about the validity of the strike and it was awarded.

Unfortunately, Maeda was injured in netting the leveller after clashing with the towering netminder and was duly replaced by Filipe Jota on the half-hour mark.

The alert Hart showed great reactions in the 38th minute when Hearts broke forward from a Hoops corner-kick. The ball was launched forward to Ginnelly who was ahead of Starfelt and Cameron Carter-Vickers in pursuit of the pass.

However, the experienced keeper raced from his area to just beat the opponent to the ball to clear in fine style.

TONGUE IN CHEEK…Sead Haksabanovic celebrates another brilliant finish.

Two minutes into first-half stoppage-time, Jota performed a couple of trademark shimmies on the edge of the box before hammering in a vicious right-foot drive.

Clark was stranded as the ball crashed against the right-hand upright and smuggled behind for a corner-kick before Matt O’Riley could latch onto the rebound.

The keeper mispunched the O’Riley left-wing delivery and the ball bounced to Ralston who attempted a spectacular overhead-kick that cleared the crossbar.

Cammy Devlin was inevitably booked by referee Alan Muir after his umpteenth foul on O’Riley in the 52nd minute.

On the hour mark, that unstoppable Kyogo struck for his 25th goal of the season to put the champions ahead.

It was the result of a mesmerisingly swift move by the hosts with Jota getting the ball rolling when he took possession off Devlin and played an astute pass inside to Aaron Mooy.

The Aussie picked out the darting Kyogo who found a pocket of space to take the ball on the run before walloping a left-foot drive beyond the exposed Hart.

Celtic Park erupted as the fans’ favourite took his customary bow.

Three minutes later, Ralston picked out Abada clear on the right. Kyogo was in another superb position, but the Israeli’s precision was out and Hearts cleared.

HAPPY 100th, BOSS…Ange Postecoglou celebrates three more points.

In the 71st minute, boss Postecoglou made his anticipated changes with Oh Hyeon-gyu, Reo Hatate and Haksabanovic on for Kyogo, O’Riley and Abada.

Jota moved to the right with Haksabanovic taking over the left-wing beat as the manager freshened things up.

Tomoki Iwata came on for the hard-working Mooy in the 80th minute as another Celt was given game time.

Four minutes later, the points were secure after a brilliant piece of individualism from Haksabanovic after he picked up a pass from Alexandro Bernabei on the left.

The Swede tricked his way past two opponents players and simply unleashed an unsavable effort past the despairing Clark into his top left-hand corner.

Now the attention turns to Tynecastle on Saturday afternoon for a Scottish Cup quarter-final encounter.

Bring it on!

TEAM: Hart; Ralston, Carter-Vickers, Starfelt, Bernabei; Mooy (sub: Iwata 80), McGregor, O’Riley (Hatate 71); Abada (sub: Haksabanovic 71), Kyogo (sub: Oh 71), Maeda (sub: Jota 30).

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