Scottish champions Celtic played out a thrilling encounter with Hearts at Tynecastle on Saturday afternoon, with Ange Postecoglou’s side facing a stern test in what was a VAR-impacted affair on the day.
The Old Firm side struck the first blow through the in-form James Forrest – the Scotsman making it four goals in his last two league games – before substitute Lawrence Shankland netted from the penalty spot just before the break.
The visitors had seemingly been aggrieved at seeing Antony Ralston’s header ruled out for a perceived foul by Giorgos Giakoumakis early in the first half, while Postecoglou was again incredulous at the failure to award his side a spot-kick late in the first period after what he described as a “clear handball” from defender, Michael Smith.
That man Shankland completed a stunning comeback for his side just after the interval, before goals from the aforementioned Giakoumakis and Daizen Maeda completed a turnaround of their own for the Hoops just prior to the hour mark.
The away side were made to pay for Moritz Jenz’s foul inside the penalty area as Shankland completed his clinical treble at the second time of asking, after an initial VAR intervention, only for unlikely hero Greg Taylor to slide in late on to ensure all three points for the Glasgow giants.
On a day dominated by talk of technology and refereeing decisions, that has perhaps overshadowed the displays of some of Postecoglou’s key men, with defender Cameron Carter-Vickers having endured something of a difficult afternoon against the Jambos.
The typically reliable centre-back – who has recently been dubbed the “best player in Scotland last season” by BT Sport pundit Chris Sutton [05/10/2022, 19:41] – had endured a rare sloppy moment after clumsily fouling Cammy Devlin inside the area for the hosts’ opener.
The former Tottenham Hotspur man – who made the move to Paradise on a permanent deal this summer after spending last season on loan at the club – was also somewhat culpable for the home side’s second of the game as he was unable to prevent the ruthless Shankland from turning home from close range.
The 24-year-old has helped to keep five clean sheets in his nine Scottish Premiership appearances so far this term, although was unable to prevent the attacking onslaught from Robbie Neilson’s side yesterday, while also notably losing possession on nine occasions from his 97 touches.
Such an outing – in which the 24-year-old was ‘under pressure constantly’ from the opposition forward line, as per Glasgow Live’s Ben Banks – may well be of concern to the Bhoys and their supporters, with the hope being it is a mere blip for the ten-cap colossus after a relatively smooth journey in Scottish football thus far.