CELTIC’S celebrations for their eighth successive title will be delayed at least another week.
Hearts could have teed up a showdown between the champions and Hibs at Easter Road tomorrow if they had either beaten or drawn with Steven Gerrard’s Ibrox outfit at Tynceastle this afternoon.
Instead, the Edinburgh team, who face Neil Lennon’s side in the Scottish Cup Final at Hampden on May 25, folded meekly to a 3-1 defeat.
Craig Levein’s line-up were utterly dreadful as they highlighted why they had won only two of their last 10 Premiership outings. They were two goals down in the first-half after strikes from Jermain Defoe and Ryan Jack.
Any hopes of a fightback or attempt at salvaging some pride evaporated within minutes of the restart when defender Nikola Katic got on the receiving of a cross following a corner-kick from Steve Davis which was taken when the ball was clearly in motion.
Referee John Beaton didn’t take any action although the laws of the game are quite clear that the ball must be stationery at deadball kicks.
Substitute Steven MacLean pulled one back with a diving header, but it was too little too late to haul the Jambos back into the contest.
The attacker may face some retrospective disciplinary action from the SFA after making a bizarre gesture to his own fans following his goal – not unlike Derek McInnes’ arm movement to the Celtic support at Hampden last week.
The title kings face Kilmarnock in the east end of Glasgow on Saturday where the champagne could be flowing with the eighth flag in the bag, but they will be concentrating on Hibs in Leith tomorrow before even thinking about next week.