Cameron Carter-Vickers once again captained Celtic to victory as they stole all three points in their game against Hearts to put a four-point gap between them and Rangers.
Hearts 3-4 Celtic
The defending league champions were given a scare but they did enough to ensure themselves a victory over Hearts at Tynecastle Park.
Cameron Carter-Vickers wore the captain’s armband for the Hoops as he went the distance, completing 92 percent of his passes, winning seven duels, and making one tackle.
The game got off to a fast start as the hosts looked determined to score an upset over Celtic. However, it would be the champs that opened the scoring after 14 minutes when James Forrest was on the spot to head in a deflected cross from Tony Ralston.
Hearts then clawed their way back to level the score in first-half stoppage time when the referee pointed to the spot for a penalty. A review from the video assistant referee showed Carter-Vickers had brought down Cammy Devlin in the box, thus forcing the referee to overturn his decision. Lawrence Shankland stepped up to convert the spot-kick.
The hosts found themselves in the lead two minutes into the second half when Shankland got his foot on a low cross from Josh Ginnelly to redirect the ball into the goal.
However, Celtic came back to level the score eight minutes later when Giorgos Giakoumakis headed in Aaron Mooy’s corner kick. Daizen Maeda followed up in the 59th minute when he was quick to pounce on the loose ball after Hearts’ goalkeeper Craig Gordon fumbled Mooy’s long-range shot.
Hearts were given a lifeline again in the 65th minute when the referee pointed to the spot again for another penalty. This time Celtic’s Moritz Lenz was the guilty party as he tripped up Cameron Devlin in the area. Shankland stepped up to complete his hat-trick, but his shot was stopped by Celtic goalkeeper Joe Hart before Ginnelly rushed in to put the ball in the back of the net.
That goal would be called back as VAR showed there was encroachment by several players before the kick was taken. This gave Shankland another chance and he made sure it counted this time.
Greg Taylor ended any hopes for Hearts to secure a point as his goal in the 76th minute proved to be the game-winner.
Celtic remains atop the standings with 30 points.
Rangers 1-1 Livingston
Rangers were made to fight for a point as a stoppage-time strike saw them share the spoils with Livingston at Ibrox Stadium.
Malik Tillman started for the Light Blues and played the entire game, completing 86 percent of his passes, winning eight duels and making three tackles. James Sands came off the bench to play the entire second half, completing 95 percent of his passes and winning two duels.
The hosts received a shock after four minutes when Livingston took the lead. Joel Nouble was able to gain control of a deflected pass from teammate Cristian Montano to put it past Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor.
From then on the visitors did their best to hold onto the lead as Rangers could not find a way to score.
It was more of the same in the second until the 78th minute when the hosts received a lifeline as the referee showed Livingston’s Morgan Boyes was sent off for his dangerous tackle on Alfredo Morelos.
Despite having the man advantage, Rangers still could not find a way to score. They were fortunate in the 95th minute when John Lundstram volleyed home a cross from Ryan Kent.
Rangers salvaged a point in the game, but now sit four points back of their crosstown rivals.
Elsewhere in the Scottish Premiership, Ian Harkes played the final 22 minutes as struggling Dundee United was beaten 2-1 by St. Mirren.
Christian Ramirez was on the bench and saw no action as Aberdeen secured a 2-1 win over Motherwell.
In the Championship, Brian Schwake recorded another clean sheet for Greenock Morton as they shared the points with Dundee following a 0-0 draw.
Down in League One, Emmanuel Johnson came off the bench to score a stoppage-time goal in FC Edinburgh’s 3-1 win over Airdrieonians.