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Celtic scorned the perfect chance to return to the summit of the cinch Premiership after an afternoon of VAR controversy at Tynecastle.

A first-half penalty from Jorge Grant was supplemented by a second-half effort from Lawrence Shankland as Hearts took all three points – with the momentum of the title race swinging back in Rangers’ favour.

By the time that Grant netted the spot-kick, Celtic had missed one of their own with Adam Idah missing an early chance from the spot after VAR had ruled that Alex Cochrane has clipped the heels of Yang. It looked soft but would not be the only starring role the technology had to play in proceedings.

Hearts keeper Zander Clark saved the effort with his foot as Idah fluffed his lines.

VAR was back at the heart of the action again when it upgraded a yellow card from Yang after a high boot on Cochrane with the player dismissed.

Matt O’Riley thought he’d given Celtic the lead only for his effort to be correctly ruled offside before Hearts’ made their numerical advantage work.

VAR was front and centre again as the game twisted in Hearts’ favour. Tomoki Iwata’s contact with a falling ball was reviewed and judged to have come off the back of his arm after he and Alistair Johnston had leapt together in a sandwich with Stephen Kingsley. Again, the call seemed harsh.

Captain Shankland, who netted from the spot against Hibernian in midweek, stepped aside – much to the amusement of Joe Hart – for Grant who steered the ball firmly into the bottom right-hand corner to have the last laugh. 

Iwata hesitancy allowed Beni Baningime to dispossess him with Alan Forrest setting up Shankland who thought he had added a second. It was ruled to be offside after yet another trek to the VAR monitor.

It was little more than a stay of execution as Hearts doubled their lead in the second period.

Calem Nieuwenhof slipped the ball inside the right channel for Shankland to net his 27th goal of the season.

Celtic pushed for a response.  Kyogo, on at the break, connected with O’Riley’s low ball with Clark making another smart save.

The goalkeeper had further says in proceedings as he denied Idah from close range.

All as it was at the top of the table but Celtic will be irked at allowing Rangers’ a reprieve after their defeat to Motherwell.

For Hearts, this is a second victory over Celtic this season – the first time that has happened since season 2006/07. They looked to have third spot well wrapped up – they are 13 points ahead of St Mirren – while they are still alive in the Scottish Cup.

Opinion on Steven Naismith has turned full circle since those struggling early months of the season.