Brown blasts Walker as Celtic kick off six-in-a-row bid
Hearts 1-2 Celtic
Celtic captain Scott Brown described Jamie Walker as a "cheat" after the Hearts midfielder won and scored a controversial penalty in the Hoops' 2-1 Ladbrokes Premiership win at Tynecastle.
Scott Sinclair came off the bench just hours after his move from Aston Villa to score a dramatic winner for the champions, going for six titles in a row, but there had been some drama.
The 27-year-old, who signed a four-year deal for a fee reported to potentially reach as much as £4.5m, watched from the bench as James Forrest drove Celtic ahead in the eighth minute.
However, Hearts drew level in the 36th minute when referee John Beaton adjudged Parkhead left-back Kieran Tierney to have fouled Walker, who despatched the spot-kick.
Walker was adamant that there was contact but Brown said afterwards: "It is brilliant how well he dives. He is really good at that. He should have been in Rio.
"It was a dive. Cheat. What else can you say? The referee came out at half-time and said he got it wrong. He made the decision, he hasn't seen it and the linesman hasn't put his flag up.
"It is always a hard game here, a great atmosphere and you expect a hard challenge like they gave us. They tried to play football and mix it up as well.
"Hearts are great at that but there is no place in football for cheats and that's been a couple of times here now."
Moments earlier, Walker had said: "I saw him (Tierney) coming out of the corner of my eye and felt contact so I went down. I am not the referee, I don't give the decisions."
Hoops boss Brendan Rodgers, after his first league game in charge, was less strident in his assertion of the incident. He said: "The referee made the mistake and thankfully it didn't cost us. The young guy took a dive."
The Ulsterman was pleased with the immediate impact of Sinclair. He said: "He wants to score. He scored 27 goals in the Championship when he got promoted with me at Swansea.
"Scott has always been about enjoying football. The last four years have been difficult. No one has seen the best of him and probably forgotten his quality. He is young, he is 27, strong, robust, can play in big games, loves the big occasion and can learn so I think he will be a big player."
Hearts boss Robbie Neilson claimed his side should have got a second penalty after the break when Celtic's Kolo Toure tangled with Robbie Muirhead.
The former Jambos ace said: "People said there was light contact (for the penalty) but in the second-half the Muirhead one was a penalty. If it is a penalty it is a penalty. If he gives one in the first-half it shouldn't influence him at all."
Hearts: Hamilton, Rherras, Igor Rossi, Souttar, Paterson, Walker, Djoum, Cowie, Nicholson, Watt (Muirhead 62), Sammon (Buaben 78).
Subs Not Used: Noring, Oshaniwa, Liam Smith, Zanatta, Paton.
Booked: Sammon, Djoum, Watt, Walker, Igor Rossi, Paterson, Cowie.
Goal: Walker 36 pen
Celtic: Gordon, Tierney, O'Connell (Rogic 73), Toure, Lustig, McGregor, Armstrong (Sinclair 61), Brown, Forrest, Griffiths (Janko 83), Dembele.
Subs Not Used: Izaguirre, Ciftci, Johansen, Fasan.
Booked: Gordon, Brown, Sinclair, Dembele.
Goals: Forrest 8, Sinclair 81.
Ref: John Beaton (Scotland)