HEARTS 0 CELTIC 3
CELTIC edged closer to the treble as they saw off Hearts at Tynecastle in a capital show at Tynecastle this afternoon.
The conclusion was never in any doubt after Ange Postecoglou’s side made a blistering start to keep their opponents on the back foot.
Aaron Mooy, Kyogo Furuhashi and Cameron Carter-Vickers were the marksmen as the visitors eased into the semi-final draw.
The victory and the display were so comprehensive, even Robbie Neilson had nothing to complain about.
COLOURFUL KICK-OFF…Celtic fans add to the splendour of a Cup quarter-final in Edinburgh.
The Hoops came out the blocks with the force of a hurricane and almost scored in 36 SECONDS and claimed the opener just over a minute afterwards.
The visitors kicked off and immediately drove at their opponents’ rearguard. The hosts looked on as Sead Haksabanovic and Greg Taylor combined on the left to set up a shooting opportunity for Reo Hatate.
The Japanese playmaker lashed a vicious right-foot drive at goal that was superbly turned away by Zander Clark for a corner-kick.
Before two minutes were on the clock, the keeper was fishing the ball out of the back of the net as the relentless Celts took the lead.
JOY BHOY MOOY…the Celtic midfielder races away in triumph after firing in the early opener. Kyogo Furuhashi is about to join in the celebrations with Zander Clark left grounded.
Filipe Jota galloped clear on the right from an Alistair Johnston pass with Andy Halliday caught out. The Portuguese wizard nursed the ball along until the time was just spot-on to slip a pass into the tracks of Mooy.
The Aussie ace connected perfectly with his left foot from almost the penalty spot and his effort thudded into the net with Clark utterly helpless.
Celtic looked in cruise control, but they were given a reminder of the danger of their rivals in the 22nd minute when it took a blinding save from Joe Hart to repel an effort low at his left hand.
James Hill looked as though he was mountaineering as he leapt over stranded Taylor to nod a free-kick into the path of Toby Sibbick.
The defender took a sublime touch to open up a shooting chance and he whipped in a netbound drive. Hart was down in a flash to parry the ball to safety and complete the save by clawing it past the post with Josh Ginnelly racing in.
HAPPY HEART…Kyogo Furuhashi is delighted after netting the second goal as a smiling Filipe Jota heads back for the restart.
Hatate blew the opportunity to double the Hoops’ advantage in the 34th minute after being set up by Kyogo.
From close range, the skilful midfielder looked a certainty to score, but fluffed his lines and hit the ball off the legs of Claek and the chance was gone.
However, the second goal duly arrived a minute from the interval and once more it was excellently and swiftly-constructed and finished with aplomb by Kyogo.
Johnston took a throw-in deep in the corner and picked out Mooy. The midfielder played in the Canadian who had found a pocket of space in the box.
He sizzled in a low ball to the near post and the prolific and pacy Kyogo was there to flick a cheeky effort away from the stranded Clark.
A delighted Postecoglou stood on the touchline with his arm raised aloft in salute.
BY THE LEFT…Reo Hatate tries his luck with team-mate Filipe Jota and Hearts defender Toby Sibbick looking on.
It was the perfect time to claim a second strike as referee Kevin Clancy blew his whistle to signal the half-time break only seconds later.
Japanese new Bhoy Yuki Kobayashi came out for the second-half to replace Carl Starfelt who had sustained a knock in the opening 45 minutes.
Cameron Carter-Vickers was the first name in the ref’s book after a challenge on Stephen Kinglsey. There were no complaints from the Hoops stopper.
Ten minutes after the interval, Kyogo set up Jota was a neat pass, but Clark made a stunning save from the winger’s shot. The ball spun into the air and Kyogo tried desperately to get to the ricochet, but could only head wide.
In the 59th minute, Liel Abada was introduced to replace Haksabanovic.
Shortly afterwards, he was welcomed to the action by a crude challenge from Orestis Kiomourtzoglou who was yellow-carded for wiping out the Israeli winger. Neilson replaced the defender with Cammy Devlin shortly afterwards.
Matt O’Riley and Oh Hyeon-gyu made their entrance in the 77th minute with Mooy and Kyogo, the first-half goalscorers, taking a well-earned breather.
MY BALL…Aaron Mooy tussles with Andy Halliday for possession with Cameron Carter-Vickers watching.
HEADS I WIN…Cameron Carter-Vickers gets in before Toby Sibbick and Alex Cochrane to nod in Celtic’s third goal.
Two minutes later, Hatate was denied a third for Celtic when Hill diverted a netbound 25-yarder with Clark out of position.
Nathanial Atkinson was booked after a wayward challenge that sent Carter-Vickers spinning to the ground.
The US World Cup defender exacted full revenge with the third goal in the 80th minute as O’Riley swung the resultant free-kick into the crowded penalty area.
Carter-Vickers was in a perfect position to make a vital contact with his head and his effort swept wide of the static Clark.
Moments later, Hatate went off to be replaced by Tomoki Iwata as Postecoglou set up the team to see out the remaining minutes.
Celtic’s name is now in the ballot for the semi-final draw on Monday night.
The treble is on!
TEAM: Hart; Johnston, Carter-Vickers, Starfelt (sub: Kobayashi 46), Taylor; Mooy (sub: O’Riley 77), McGregor, Hatate (sub: Iwata 81); Jota, Kyogo (sub: Oh 77), Haksabanovic (sub: Abada 59).