It was on another freezing winter's evening under the Tynecastle lights that the second Neil Lennon era began.

Ten months ago, Odsonne Edouard's stoppage time winner snatched victory from the chaos of Brendan Rodgers' departure, keeping Celtic on course for an eighth consecutive Premiership title.

And while this decidedly less memorable win over a struggling Hearts side lacked the drama and wild celebrations that marked Lennon's return, it could prove no less important in the club's push for number nine.

In another display of ruthless attacking instinct, Ryan Christie and Olivier Ntcham struck to send Celtic five points clear of Rangers at the league summit.

Steven Gerrard's side are also due in the capital this week for a tussle with Hibs, knowing they must now match this result.

It was a three points gathered in about as efficient a manner as Lennon could have hoped for, considering the way his side were greeted in Gorgie.

The Tynecastle pitch looks badly in need of its Christmas holiday and it contributed to a decidedly scrappy opening period during which Hearts hustled and harried with purpose.

Daniel Stendel rang four changes following Saturday's defeat to St Johnstone, looking to introduce some extra energy from middle to front.

The patchy pitch arguably suited Hearts but they too struggled to get to grips with the bounces and bobbles, most notably contriving to concede a corner from almost the halfway line.

Celtic weren't being allowed to settle and Scott Brown's attempts to match Hearts' physicality led to a nasty tackle on Aaron Hickey that drew a booking from Bobby Madden.

But for all the home side's endeavour in stopping their guests establishing any rhythm, it only took the slightest glimpse of an opening for them to fall behind.

James Forrest fed Odsonne Edouard and the Frenchman's dance on top of the ball took three players out of the game, allowing Christie to tee up on the edge of the box and drill home through the legs of Christophe Berra.

Suddenly, Hearts looked vulnerable again. Edouard should've doubled Celtic's lead, Forrest likewise, but both wasted golden opportunities before Ntcham eventually lashed in a killer second.

With Hearts overcommitting, Forrest ploughed through a huge gap on the left, holding off Berra and crossing for the advancing Frenchman to finish.

Without hitting the heights, Celtic went in at the interval with the points all-but secured.

Callum McGregor stabbed home what looked to be a third shortly after the restart, only to be denied by a delayed linesman's flag.

Edouard then came within a whisker of adding that third, only for the ball to glance off the outside of the post.

Hearts carried on manfully but as the punters inside Tynecastle began to disappear into the night, so did their hopes of salvaging a result.

3 talking points

Stendel switch-up

Having overseen a lifeless defeat to St Johnstone at the weekend, Stendel shuffled his pack. In came Pereira, Mulraney, Wighton, Damour and Brandon, although the back four remained unchanged. Hearts ' issues have very much been at the other end of the pitch and there's an impression Stendel is assessing his options as he goes along. An impression is exactly what his team tried to make in the early stages, pressing and harrying Celtic into mistakes and fashioning some half-chances. All that was missing, and this is rather important, was the quality. Granted, not every side will punish Hearts with the same ruthlessness on show here, but Stendel's next task is to find a strategy that marries that workrate with some cohesion back to front. The Jambos unravelled after their initial swell

Ruthless Celtic

Among the many lessons to be learned from the Betfred Cup Final is the fact this Celtic side are just as dangerous under pressure as when they're applying it. Hearts' brave opening salvo wasn't anything akin to the going over Rangers gave their rivals at Hampden 10 days ago, but Lennon's side struck back with no less venom. Celtic had barely laid a glove on Hearts when Christie controlled and picked out the bottom corner in one devastating movement. With their hosts reeling, the second goal felt inevitable and its timing, on the cusp of the interval, ensured the Hearts that emerged for the second period had none of the incentive that fuelled the Hearts which started the game. There are few things more psychologically galling in football than conceding out of nowhere when you've been playing well. It's a blow this Celtic side are masters at inflicting.

Daylight at the top

Speaking of psychology, Rangers must now go to Easter Road a not inconsiderable distance behind their rivals. When the final whistle blew on their victory at Fir Park on Sunday, they were one ahead. Against a revitalised Hibs side, cutting that gap back to two will be no easy task. Only Celtic have taken points from the Hibees since Jack Ross took charge. And with the spectre of another derby looming large on December 29, this pair of fixtures amid a busy festive schedule could prove pivotal. The title is certain to remain in Glasgow this season, but two evenings in Edinburgh may just have a say as to its exact location come May.