With Celtic struggling back in sixth, Hearts have leapt to the top of the Scottish Premiership table after a quite outstanding start to the season.
The Edinburgh side are five points clear of Rangers and Hibernian and six ahead of a Celtic side whose defeat at Kilmarnock on Sunday consigned them to their worst domestic start in two decades.
And Brendan Rodgers’ hopes of a third successive treble have not been helped by the dramatic deadline-day departure of Moussa Dembele. After a messy transfer saga, the French striker joined Lyon for £19.7 million.
And, in Dembele’s absence, Celtic have scored just six times in six Scottish Premiership games with £9 million record signing Odsonne Edouard in particular struggling to fill Dembele’s boots with no goals in his last six games.
Though it must be mentioned that Hearts too lost their talisman centre-forward – last season’s 19 goal top scorer Kyle Lafferty. Craig Levein’s side, however, did manage to replace Lafferty after he returned to Rangers, bringing Uche Ikpeazu from Cambridge United.
And Kris Boyd believes this should not be overlooked.
“I think they replaced (Lafferty). Ikpeazu has come in and he’s a handful,” Kilmarnock striker and pundit Boyd told the Monday Night Sport Club on BBC Radio 5Live (26 September, 5.30pm).
“He’s a good player. He allows Hearts to get up the pitch. In our game against Hearts (in August), he goes and wins a header and it’s 1-0.”
Ikpeazu has scored just once in the league so far but his physicality and ability to lead the line selflessly has caused opposition defenders no end of problems, while getting the best out of the roving number 10 Steven Naismith.
Celtic, however, will be hoping that Edouard and Leigh Griffiths can carry them through until the New Year.