Scintillating Celtic race six ahead of Rangers as sensational Kyogo and O'Riley run the show – 3 talking points

Scintillating Celtic turned on the style as Kyogo's first half double sent the champions six points clear at the top of the Premiership with a 3-0 win over Hearts.

Parkhead went into party mode as their side produced one of the displays of the season to see off Hearts and take a huge stride towards the title. Kyogo’s double got the Hoops up and running but it was the Matt O’RIley Show – with the playmaker’s late penalty to add to his sublime assist for the second. Hearts were chasing three wins against the Hoops on the spin for the first time since 1961.

But it never looked on the cards as Celtic hit their stride at precisely the right time to pile pressure on Rangers ahead of their Premiership clash vs Kilmarnock tomorrow. Bring on the Rangers was the chant at full time and it Brendan Rodgers’s men didn’t take long to get into gear and hour and a half earlier. They survived a minor Lawrence Shankland scare in the first minute but managed to make a dream start inside four minutes when Kyogo nodded in from close range after Roe Hatate hooked over the loose ball after Zander Clark punched out O’Riley’s corner.

Celtic's Kyogo Furuhashi celebrates -Credit:SNS Group
Celtic's Kyogo Furuhashi celebrates -Credit:SNS Group

And Hoops fans turned up the noise when the Japanese striker made it 2-0 after just 20 minutes with a lovely cushioned volley finish after O’Riley curled a breathtaking ball over the Jambos defence. At that stage it was tough on Hearts, who were denied a leveller by a superb save from Joe Hart. But Celts went through the gears and it could have been more before the break only for Clark to deny efforts from O’RIley and Kyogo as well as Greg Taylor.

The Hoops kept the foot down after the break. Callum McGregor raised the roof with a 60 yard run to win the ball back but it was some of the thrilling attacking play that had Parkhead purring. O’Riley’s sublime volleyed cross showed the confidence flowing through the midfielder and it was only Clark keeping Celts at bay as the chances continued to mount.

Matt O'Riley celebrates -Credit:SNS Group
Matt O'Riley celebrates -Credit:SNS Group


There were more cheers when Daizen Maeda made his comeback from the bench and again when VAR clocked Shankland’s handball in the box from Luis Palma’s cross. O’Riley capped a stunning display with a deadly spot kick to send Celts into next week’s Old Firm game with confidence soaring. Here's 3 talking points


Celtic could not have timed this display any better with the season ticket renewals out this week. Hoops fans have complained about some of the pedestrian performances at Parkhead this season. But if they produce this kind of stuff then punters will happily stump up their hard-earned cash.

Celts were slick and quick and with Matt O’Riley looking every inch a £25m player. At a time of the season when results matter more than displays, this proved to be both as the Hoops turned on the style and the entertainment.

With Rangers coming to the East End next week, they are going to run into a Celtic side that’s flying and has all the fans back on board.


There’s been a lot of talk about Kyogo not quite being at the same levels this term as he has been in previous seasons. The front man certainly hasn’t been as prolific this time around and incredible this was the first time he’s notched more than one goal in a game – which he did seven times last season.

Kyogo has still managed to clock up 19 goals this term and his brace here was textbook stuff from the Japanese ace. His first was a poacher’s finish from the fringes of offside and his second was a sublime touch to steer past Zander Clark after racing on to Matt O’Riley’s sensational curled ball over the top.

Kyogo may not have hit the heights every week this term but he remains a top player and one of the most lethal strikers in the land.


The Jambos have enjoyed an impressive campaign and will comfortable claim the third force tag in Scotland. Today was a painful reminder there is still a heck of a gap to make up when the likes of Celtic bring out their A game.The task is to try to get closer though and Gorgie fans should be optimistic about where their side are heading.

They are going into Europe, for a start. Guaranteed group stages in either the Europa or the Conference will bring it’s own challenges. But Steven Naismith has looked the part in the dugout and he’s made some more than decent signings. He’ll keep trying to chip away at the Old Firm but it already looks like his side will take some shifting as the third force next term.