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IN PICTURES: HEARTS 1 CELTIC 2

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IT was tight, tense and a tad towsy at Tynecastle last night – but the champions refused to settle for anything less than a triumph against a dogged and determined Hearts side who refused to budge an inch.

They had defender Jamie Brandon dismissed for a shocking challenge on Jeremy Toljan just before the interval and were already trailing to a James Forrest strike after a lightning break from Celtic with Ewan Henderson, Scott Sinclair and Oliver Burke all involved in a sweeping move down the pitch.

Celtic gifted them a penalty-kick lifeline 10 minutes after the interval following a mix-up between Scott Bain and Kristoffer Ajer that ended with Oliver Bozanic thumping in the equaliser from the spot.

Craig Levein’s men were then content to sit in for the remaining 35 minutes in the hope of gaining a point in Neil Lennon’s second homecoming.

Thankfully, though, the visitors kept going until the last toot from referee Steven McLean’s whistle and Odsonne Edouard, who had replaced the impressive Henderson just after the hour mark, stroked in the winner in the second minute of stoppage time.

The goal ensured the title kings maintained their eight-point lead at the top of the table and the eighth crown is well in sight.

CQN‘s team of ace snappers were at Tynecastle to capture the action.

Here is the pick of the pics.

CRUNCH…Kieran Tierney is challenged by Hearts defender Marcos Godinho.

WALLOP…Scott Brown lets fly from outside the box, but the effort was saved.

NUMBER ONE…James Forrest sweeps in the opening goal.

CHEERS…Forrest is swamped by delighted team-mates Ewan Henderson, Kieran Tierney and Nir Bitton.

HEADS I WIN…Dedryck Boyata clears from Hearts’ David Vanecek.

SEEING RED…Jamie Brandon is banished by referee Steven McLean as Jeremy Toljan wonders what just hit him. Dedryck Boyata clearly agrees with the match official’s decision.

IF LOOKS COULD KILL…Scott Brown glances at Hearts’ robust striker Uche Ikpeazu.

CROWDED OUT…no luck for Odsonne Edouard on this occasion with Sean Clare and keeper Bobby Zlamal repelling this raid.

NUMBER TWO…Odsonne Edouard shows his poise as he turns in the winner in stoppage time. Sean Clare is helpless.

BOUNCING BHOYS…Kieran Tierney leads the way as the players celebrate after the dramatic triumph. 

HANDS UP IF YOU LOVE CELTIC…Timothy Weah and matchwinner Odsonne Edouard salute the fans.

SWEDE SMELL OF SUCCESS…Mikael Lustig celebrates along with Jeremy Toljan, the defender he replaced four minutes from time.

HANDS UP…Kieran Tierney enjoys the moment at the end of his second game following a two-month injury lay-off.

EAR WE GO…a delighted Neil Lennon at the climax of a critical confrontation.

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