Ange heartened by Celtic's resilience

Ange Postecoglou's Celtic have beaten Hearts 2-1 in the Scottish Premiership.
Ange Postecoglou's Celtic have beaten Hearts 2-1 in the Scottish Premiership.

Ange Postecoglou has praised his Celtic team's resilience after they survived a Hearts fightback to win their Scottish Premiership clash 2-1, remaining within four points of leaders Rangers ahead of next week's Glasgow derby.

Quickfire first-half goals from Reo Hatate and Giorgos Giakoumakis gave visitors Celtic a comfortable lead on Wednesday night before Liam Boyce pulled a goal back.

Hearts then missed a glorious chance to level when Nir Bitton and Matt O'Riley handled in the area.

Boyce hit the post from the spot and third-placed Hearts lost more ground on the top two.

"It was a cracking game," Postecoglou said. "I thought we played really well. We should have killed the game off with a third goal.

"The scoreline was tighter than it should have been but in terms of the overall performance, on a difficult night with a difficult challenge, I thought we handled it well."

Postecoglou was pleased his side eked out such a big victory without several key men, including Callum McGregor, Kyogo Furuhashi, Tom Rogic and David Turnbull.

"If you chart the course of this team from the first time we were here (at Tynecastle on the opening day of the season), which people keep mentioning, the amount of challenges we've had means we haven't really had a smooth run to be honest.

"But I don't mind because it builds resilience and reveals character."

Rangers maintained their four-point lead over Celtic after Scott Arfield scored with 15 minutes left in a 1-0 win over Liningston at Ibrox.

Borna Barisic swapped passes with Fashion Sakala to find Arfield for the former Burnley midfielder to win it.

Australian Associated Press