03.03.2024 15:22 h

Celtic blow title chance in Hearts loss

Celtic squandered a chance to move to the top of the Scottish Premiership as the title chasers crashed to a damaging 2-0 defeat at Hearts on Sunday.

Brendan Rodgers' side hoped to take advantage of a shock 2-1 defeat for leaders Rangers against St Johnston on Saturday.

But instead second placed Celtic slumped to their third league loss this term, leaving them two points behind Glasgow rivals Rangers.

Celtic striker Adam Idah had an early penalty saved by Zander Clark before the visitors were reduced to 10 men following Yang Hyun-jun's high foul on Alex Cochrane.

Hearts had already defeated Celtic in December and they took full advantage of their numerical superiority.

Jorge Grant scored a penalty late in the first half before Lawrence Shankland bagged his 27th goal this season to cement Hearts' grip on third place.

The Hoops were awarded a penalty in the 11th minute when Cochrane was deemed to have fouled Yang, but Idah saw his low spot-kick saved by the legs of Clark.

Yang and Cochrane were involved in the next major flashpoint just a few minutes later when the Korean midfielder caught the Hearts star in the face with a high foot.

Referee Don Robertson booked the Celtic player but then upgraded it to a red card after being advised by VAR to check the incident on the pitchside monitor.

Another big call went Hearts' way in the 40th minute when they were awarded a penalty after the ball came down on to the arm of Tomoki Iwata as he rose for a header.

Grant kept his cool during the lengthy VAR check and sent Celtic keeper Joe Hart the wrong way from the spot.

Celtic's task became insurmountable in the 56th minute when Shankland swept a clinical low strike past Hart from 15 yards out after Calem Nieuwenhof slipped and inadvertently knocked the ball into the striker's path.