Celtic fans turned their wrath on the board as Hearts’ 2-0 win at Parkhead consigned the Hoops to back-to-back league defeats for the first time in a decade.
First-half goals from Lawrence Shankland and Stephen Kingsley earned Hearts their first league win at Celtic Park since 2007.
Shankland’s free header and Kingsley’s 25-yard free-kick saw Hearts end a 14-match losing run at Celtic Park and secure their first win at Parkhead in 25 games, since Michael Stewart’s penalty earned a League Cup win in 2009.
Celtic’s defeat, on the back of last weekend’s loss at Kilmarnock, leaves them five points ahead of Rangers in the cinch Premiership but their Glasgow rivals have two games in hand. It was March 2013 when they last lost consecutive league games, against Motherwell and Ross County.
With the Green Brigade ultras group still banned, the atmosphere among the home fans was again flat but it turned angry for a spell late in the second half as Celtic toiled.
One fan in the main stand sparked wider dissent when he shouted towards the Celtic directors, leading to chants of “sack the board” from around the stadium and more personal songs aimed at chairman Peter Lawwell.
The club’s summer recruitment again came into question with only one of their eight summer signings among the 16 players to feature.
Hearts won comfortably in the end to give manager Steven Naismith a positive end to a week in which his results and style of play came under criticism at the club’s annual general meeting. The Gorgie side moved up to third after scoring more than once in the league for only the third game this season.
The home side threatened first when Greg Taylor saw a powerful first-time strike from 25 yards pushed over but Hearts were ahead in the 15th minute.
Jorge Grant’s deep corner found Shankland completely unmarked and the Scotland striker bulleted a header into the roof of the net to net his 13th goal for Hearts this season.
Celtic pressed without testing Zander Clark and Hearts doubled their lead in the 30th minute after Cameron Carter-Vickers was penalised for a challenge on Nathaniel Atkinson. Kingsley again showed his dead-ball prowess as he curled the ball over the wall and into the corner of the net.
Celtic showed some urgency in response. David Turnbull’s left-footed strike forced a good save from Clark and Kyogo Furuhashi set up Luis Palma for what looked a certain goal until Kingsley threw himself at the shot to block.
Hearts continued to ask questions of their hosts, mostly from corners, and Rodgers made three changes at the start of the second half.
Anthony Ralston replaced Alistair Johnston, striker Oh Hyeon-gyu came on for midfielder Turnbull and Daizen Maeda made his comeback from a knee injury to replace Mikey Johnston.
The latter had been on the end of much of the Celtic support’s frustration as he struggled to make an impact, although Joe Hart twice incurred wrath for punching crosses he could have caught.
Hearts were forced into one switch as Toby Sibbick replaced the injured Kingsley.
Celtic had a couple of half chances as Frankie Kent put in a brilliant challenge on Oh and Furuhashi shot over, but there was little sign of a comeback.
Left-back Alexandro Bernabei came on for winger Palma for only his fourth appearance of the season and the Argentinian soon put in two poor crosses before James Forrest’s 71st-minute introduction for Taylor saw him revert to his normal position.
That was the final throw of the dice from Rodgers and Oh missed a decent chance to spark some life into the game when he was well wide from Forrest’s cutback.