Lafferty and Milinkovic among stars of Hearts’ Celtic success
Sunday saw one of the most seismic results in Ladbrokes Premiership history, as Heart of Midlothian ended Celtic’s 69-game unbeaten domestic run with a 4-0 victory at Tynecastle.
That result marked the Hoops’ heaviest league loss since March 2010, and extended the Jam Tarts’ unbeaten run to six games. So, after an incredible result for Craig Levein’s men, we look at the key men who brought joy to Gorgie.
Manuel David Milinkovic (LW)
After a fairly unspectacular start to his time in Edinburgh, the 23-year-old came of age against Brendan Rodgers’ treble-winners. While the hosts’ victory was very much a team effort, there’s little doubt he was the star of the show.
A thorn in the Hoops’ side throughout, the Genoa loanee made his first major contribution with a mazy run and inch-perfect lay-off for Hearts’ second goal. Kyle Lafferty got the glory that time, but the winger made the headlines in the second-half.
Milinkovic capitalised on Jozo Simunovic’s defensive error to slot home a neat third and all-but-secure the points. And he capped off a stunning display by netting the hosts’ fourth from the penalty spot. Quite incredible.
Kyle Lafferty (ST)
While the 30-year-old has been a fan favourite for national side Northern Ireland, his club career had seemed in danger of fading out. That was until he made the move to Tynecastle. The striker has been revitalised under Levein.
That was evident again yesterday. His superb finish from range for the second goal was reason enough for Hearts fans to sing his name from the rafters. But Lafferty’s all-round performance was just as important.
From harrying an unsettled Celtic defence to holding the ball up well and bringing in the side’s other attacking players, he was key throughout.
Michael Smith (CB)
Suspensions and injuries meant the capital club were missing a centre-half ahead of this game. That saw full-back Smith draw the short straw, with the former Bristol Rovers man forced to play that role for the first time since joining Hearts.
But on Sunday, the 29-year-old looked like he’d been playing centre-back all his life. Alongside Christophe Berra, he forced the illustrious visitors to feed off scraps.
In truth, Celtic never really looked like scoring. And Hearts fans have their stand-in centre-back to thank for that.
Harry Cochrane (CM)
As a 16-year-old prodigy, there are few better ways to announce yourself than scoring a first-ever senior goal against the Premiership champions. And that’s just what the teenager did, with a coolly-taken opener.
A bundle of youthful energy, he played 90 minutes for the first time in the league, stifling the likes of Scott Brown and James Forrest in the process. Whatever else he does this season, 2017-18 has already been a campaign to remember for young Cochrane.
Next up for Hearts is a trip to St Johnstone on Saturday. The visitors are 6/4 for victory, while you can back the Jam Tarts for another 4-0 victory at odds of 70/1.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing