Hearts overcame the odds to record a dramatic victory and ensure that their name will be in the hat for tomorrow's Scottish Coca-Cola Cup semi- final draw.
John Robertson, the veteran striker, has scored many important goals in his career but the joy he radiated after his strike in the 110th minute revealed the enormous pleasure both he and the Edinburgh club took from this victory.
Without the four defenders who were sent off at Ibrox on Saturday, Hearts fielded a makeshift defence which included Andy Thorn, signed from Wimbledon on a short-term contract, and they were further handicapped by the 60th- minute dismissal of the Italian Stefano Salvatori for a second bookable offence.
Despite the apparent shortcomings of their opponents, Celtic struggled to produce a rhythm and they too were to finish with 10 men with Peter Grant, their captain, being dismissed three minutes into extra time.
Despite the assembled united nations on both sides there was an overall lack of skill on show in what became a passionate Cup tie. Gilles Rousset, the Hearts goalkeeper, produced several high-quality saves, none better than his flying leap to push away a Paulo Di Canio free-kick in the first period of extra time. At the other end, Gordon Marshall also made a couple of good saves to keep Hearts out over the 90 minutes but the home side's joy was unconfined when Robertson won the tie.
In a quick break, Neil McCann played the ball in from the left side for the unmarked Robertson, who steadied himself before sweeping a low shot into corner of the net.
Heart of Midlothian (4-4-2): Rousset; McManus, McPherson, Thorn, Maysmith; MacKay (Fulton, 101), Salvatori, Cameron, McCann; Robertson, Thomas (Goss, 81). Substitute not used: Colquhoun.
Celtic (3-5-2): Marshall; Hughes, Boyd, MacKay; McNamara, Thom (Weighorst, 104), Grant, Van Hooijdonk, Gray (Donnelly, 86); Di Canio, Cadete. Substitute not used: McLaughlin.
Referee: K W Clark (Paisley).Reuse content