Celtic manager Neil Lennon was delighted to see his team put pressure on Rangers by going five points clear in the Ladbrokes Premiership.
The champions overcame a slow start to beat Hearts 2-0 in a rearranged clash at Tynecastle.
Ryan Christie netted in the 28th minute with Celtic’s first effort on target and Olivier Ntcham swept home 12 minutes later after a flurry of chances.
Rangers have a game in hand but the cushion potentially gives Celtic the platform to go further clear before the winter break with the top two meeting on December 29.
Lennon, whose side host Aberdeen on Saturday, said: “It gives them a couple of days’ rest and we look forward to a difficult game at the weekend. And it puts pressure on the rest of the teams around us to win their games.
“I can’t ask any more. That’s what we set out to do – win the game, and we’ve done that with a bit of style as well.
“I was so pleased with a lot of the performances. More importantly the manner we approached the game because we knew Hearts would be up and at it, and they were.
“So we saw that off and once the game opened up we were very, very good.”
Lennon added: “I can’t ask any more apart from putting even more of an emphatic scoreline on it.
“We had two great chances before half-time and we had great chances in the second half. If we had gone three or four up we could have maybe run riot.
“But the intensity and quality of our play at times was outstanding on a very difficult surface.”
New Hearts manager Daniel Stendel felt his team’s performance was a clear step in the right direction after a disappointing debut defeat by St Johnstone.
Hearts never seriously troubled Fraser Forster but they had Celtic on the back foot for much of the opening period and kept pushing for a goal until the end.
“We wanted to change our performance, especially from Saturday, and we did it well, especially in the first 20 minutes,” Stendel said.
“It was hard to accept being 1-0 down with their first shot on goal but that’s what happens when you make mistakes against a team with the quality of Celtic.
“The reaction was good, especially in the second half, we not only defended our goal, we tried to play on the front foot. Maybe we lacked quality and a bit of luck in the final third to create real, big chances but we tried.
“I think we deserved to score a goal, but Celtic deserved to win. But we gave all we could give in terms of fight and mentality.
“It was a good feeling, especially for me, that we can have so much support from the fans.”
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