ANN BUDGE yesterday joked that Celtic directors were praying a power cut might salvage their unbeaten streak.

Instead, the Hearts owner was able to lap up the most electrifying afternoon of her reign.

The Edinburgh side romped to an extraordinary 4-0 win over Brendan Rodgers’s previously invincible outfit, which ended Celtic's run of 69 matches without defeat.

However, Budge could have been forgiven for fearing the worst when the lights went out in Hearts' new main stand at half-time.

“We were just getting ready to go back out for the second half and I was standing talking to the Celtic directors and everything went out,” said Budge.

“I said ‘I do not believe this, this cannot be happening’. That would not have been a good moment to experience!

“There was lots of humour from them saying ‘we just can’t let our record go!’ It was all in good spirits. It wasn’t until I got a phone call and then a text saying it was just a fuse - it could be fixed - that I really relaxed.

“I have to say, as the game progressed, I was like every other Hearts supporter, thinking ‘we’re not there yet’. But then the twirly [scarves] and everything else they did, was fantastic. I didn’t do the Poznan, but I did allow myself a smile when it was happening.

“It’s probably the best I have seen in all my years, certainly since I took over. The atmosphere was fantastic. Just to see so many smiling faces, you don’t always get those but they were absolutely having a ball and I thought that was terrific.”

Such a comprehensive victory in their penultimate home fixture of 2017 went a long way to making some of the travails of a tumultuous 12 months worthwhile for Budge and her fellow directors.

The self-made IT millionaire was forced to dismiss a head coach for the first time since assuming control of the club she has supported since childhood, showing Ian Cathro the door following a miserable tenure.

Following an external interview process, director of football Craig Levein was chosen to succeed his own protege to a lukewarm reception from many supporters.

The upheaval in the dugout, however, has paled in comparison compared to the stresses of constructing a new main stand which, as she confirmed to yesterday’s annual general meeting, will now cost £15 million, £3 million over budget - albeit mystery benefactors will help to pick up the slack.

Its opening was delayed twice, necessitating four ‘home’ fixtures to take place at Murrayfield, and the visit of Partick Thistle on November 19 was only green lit by Police Scotland on the morning of the game.

In the subsequent fixtures there has been a delayed kick-off, fire alarms and, of course, a power cut.

Little wonder, then, that Budge cannot wait to focus on the football when the calendar ticks over to January 2018.

“Every so often this year, I’ve had to think: remember it’s a football club, not a construction business,” she smiled. “I am looking forward to that and being able to just look at how we can also develop the other bits of the business.

“So much has happened. When I was putting the words and slides together [for the AGM] and I looked at all the photographs, there were so many to choose from.

“I'm sure I must have had trauma and stress before, but this last year - maybe even just the last six months - has been a worry, thinking 'is everything going to come together?' 'Are we going to get back to Tynecastle?' 'Are we going to really be able to pull all these plans off?' That was really quite stressful.

"Someone recently asked me if we had been too ambitious; too aggressive in our timeframe for the stadium. And yes, I did put a lot of pressure on it, but we really needed to continue to play football here."