Scottish Premiership: Taylor nicks thrilling 4-3 win for Celtic over Hearts | Scottish Premiership

Scottish football witnessed major VAR controversy in the system’s second game in use as Celtic edged a seven-goal thriller at Tynecastle. Hearts substitute Lawrence Shankland hit a hat-trick but was upstaged by the cinch Premiership leaders, who secured a 4-3 victory thanks to Greg Taylor’s 76th-minute winner.

James Forrest, Giorgos Giakoumakis and Daizen Maeda also netted as the lead changed hands several times. A pulsating match was also overshadowed by some hotly debated decisions involving the newly introduced video technology.

Decisions were confirmed by VAR checks during St Johnstone’s win over Hibernian on Friday, but the first intervention came in first-half stoppage time across Edinburgh when referee Nick Walsh was told to look again at Cameron Carter-Vickers’ challenge on Cammy Devlin by video assistant Steven McLean.

Walsh went to his monitor to watch footage which clearly showed Devlin got the ball before being brought down. Shankland netted from the spot to make it 1-1.

Moments later Celtic appealed for a penalty when the ball hit Michael Smith’s arm in the box after being flicked up by Forrest. Walsh again played on and, after a much shorter delay while McLean checked the footage, the game continued.

Smith had appeared to move his arm towards the ball and Celtic manager Ange Postecolgou could not believe the decision, laughing and clapping sarcastically.
There was an earlier contentious decision as Anthony Ralston put the ball in the Hearts net which VAR confirmed, and the video official ordered a retake of the home team’s second penalty of the day.

The tone for the game was set early. Barrie McKay saw a first-time effort saved by Joe Hart and Maeda was off target from a similar opportunity.

Celtic left-back Alexandro Bernabei gave the ball away on a number of occasions and one moment led to Robert Snodgrass waltzing through the Celtic defence only for Hart to come out and deny him.

Celtic went straight up the park and scored a 14th-minute opener. Ralston burst on to Reo Hatate’s inside pass and drove the ball into the goalmouth from the by-line. Craig Gordon looked like he would have gathered had Orestis Kiomourtzoglou not slid in to attempt to clear, and the ball spun up for Forrest to nod home.

The first significant delay to proceedings came after Walsh blew for a free-kick to Hearts just before Ralston dived to head home Aaron Mooy’s free-kick. Gordon was eventually allowed to take the free-kick by Walsh although there appeared little wrong when Giakoumakis collided with Kiomourtzoglou.

Hearts striker Stephen Humphrys was causing Celtic problems and threatened with two shots before going off injured in the 39th minute. Shankland came on.
The action continued at both ends. Hatate could not control the ball after being played in following an excellent Celtic move and Kiomourtzoglou headed just wide.
Shankland levelled from the spot three minutes into stoppage time and the drama did not let up after Celtic’s penalty claim was rejected.

The former Dundee United striker put the hosts in front 90 seconds after the restart when he turned home Ginnelly’s low cross from close range.
The action was relentless. Mooy missed a sitter and Devlin sliced wide before Forrest had a shot saved. Giakoumakis equalised when he headed home Mooy’s corner in the 55th minute.

Celtic were ahead four minutes later when Maeda raced in to net after Gordon palmed Mooy’s 22-yard strike.

Walsh gave Hearts’ second penalty immediately after Devlin beat Moritz Jenz to a cross. After a check, Shankland saw his effort saved by Hart and miskicked his follow-up but Ginnelly raced in to knock home.

VAR official McLean ordered a retake after the winger and Jenz were shown to be encroaching. Shankland lapped up the second chance to claim his hat-trick by sending Hart the wrong way in the 65th minute.

Postecoglou immediately sent on Sead Haksabanovic, Liel Abada and Taylor and the latter two combined to put Celtic back in front. The left-back burst into the six-yard box to stab home Abada’s deflected shot.

Abada was denied by Gordon and then the offside flag as Celtic saw out the dramatic win without any more scares.

Nervous Rangers return to winning ways with victory over Motherwell | Scottish Premiership

Rangers went some way to banishing memories of their 7-1 midweek defeat against Liverpool with a 2-1 away win at Motherwell on Sunday, their fourth Scottish Premiership victory in a row.

Second half goals from Malik Tillman and John Lundstram appeared to have handed Rangers a comfortable lead at Fir Park, but in the end the result proved to be trickier than expected, as Stuart McKinstry scored from a free-kick for Motherwell on 77 minutes.

Looking suddenly nervous, Rangers nonetheless survived a late Motherwell surge to go two points behind the league leaders, Celtic, in second place.

The Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst praised his players for brushing aside the psychological blow of their heavy defeat against Liverpool in the Champions League on Wednesday. “We had to bounce back from that midweek game,” he said. “We had a knock to our confidence on Wednesday; that’s why we had to perform well to win this one.

“We had control of the goal until we conceded the free-kick. After that we had to be mentally strong to make sure we got the three points – and we were.”

Van Bronckhorst had made three alterations to the Rangers team from Wednesday’s chastening defeat as Leon King, Tillman and Rabbi Matondo came in for Goldson, Ryan Jack and Fashion Sakala.

Motherwell also made three changes to the side that started the 1-0 defeat at Hibernian the previous weekend as McKinstry, Josh Morris and Ross Tierney replaced Blair Spittal, Connor Shields and Joseph Efford.

The visitors had the first opening of the game after three minutes when Ryan Kent jinked his way into the box from the left, but the winger was crowded out by the Motherwell defence before seeing his deflected shot gathered by goalkeeper Liam Kelly.

Motherwell’s Paul McGinn (left) vies for the ball with Rangers’ Ryan Kent at Fir Park on Sunday.
Motherwell’s Paul McGinn (left) vies for the ball with Rangers’ Ryan Kent at Fir Park on Sunday. Photograph: Steve Welsh/PA

Tillman had a good opportunity for Rangers in the sixth minute when a Borna Barisic cross from the left broke to him 12 yards out, but the USA international shot high over the bar.

Motherwell’s first notable attempt came in the 33rd minute when former Rangers midfielder Sean Goss curled his free-kick into the defensive wall from just outside the box.

After an insipid first-half display, Rangers started the second on the front foot, with Antonio Colak sending a close-range header wide from a Barisic cross shortly after the restart.

Motherwell striker Kevin van Veen then tested Allan McGregor with a low shot from the angle of the box which the Rangers goalkeeper held at the second attempt.

Rangers took the lead in the 53rd minute when Tillman ran unchecked all the way from the halfway line before jinking into the box and clipping an angled shot beyond Kelly from six yards out, sparking joyous celebrations among the away supporters, who had been growing anxious with their team’s lack of creativity until that point.

The visitors then doubled their advantage in the 69th minute when Lundstram headed in Barisic’s corner. An object appeared to be thrown in the direction of Barisic as the visitors celebrated in front of the Motherwell fans.

The hosts got themselves back in the game in the 76th minute with McKinstry’s inswinging free-kick from wide on the left, which drifted over McGregor and in at the far post. But Rangers held on for a much-needed win.

Afterwards the Motherwell manager Steven Hammell said: “I don’t think we threatened them enough. We needed to be tactically better with the goals that we conceded.”