Hearts boss Robbie Neilson claimed his side would need to play “doubly well” to get points at Celtic Park after hitting out at the decision to allow Kyogo Furuhashi’s only goal.
Furuhashi was clearly ahead of the Hearts defence and looked marginally ahead of the ball too when Anthony Ralston drilled in a cross which the Japan international turned home to give Celtic a 1-0 win.
Both sides had chances in an intriguing cinch Premiership encounter with Hearts pressing hard for an equaliser.
Neilson was proud of his side but frustrated with referee Bobby Madden and his officials.
Detailing his two main emotions, Neilson said: “The first one is frustration that we have been done by a poor decision for their goal, and the second one is pride in the players because I thought we played exceptionally well, especially the second half. We pressed the game well, got up on it, had belief in ourselves.
“We came here about three months ago in the cup and couldn’t get in the game. Tonight’s performance was where we need to get to but we need to do it consistently and we need to score goals.”
When asked for his opinion on the goal, Neilson said: “It was offside. The linesman (Alan Mulvanny) has got to make a decision. It’s a key decision in the game and he doesn’t make it.
“He is looking straight along the line, he can see he is offside and he doesn’t put his flag up, and that’s the disappointing thing. I have seen it, he is ahead of the ball, he is offside.
“There were a few decisions which were a little bit strange to say the least.”
Neilson was reluctant to talk further about his frustration with the officials after recently serving a three-match touchline ban following a red card at Ibrox, when he had argued that Rangers midfielder Juninho Bacuna should have been sent off.
“To be honest, nobody cares do they? Let’s be honest,” Neilson said. “We just move on, don’t we? That’s what happens in football.
“You fill a couple of lines in the morning and then it’s Livingston on Sunday so there’s no point talking about it now.
“I said my piece after we were at Ibrox and I had to write a report to say what I meant by it and I got chased up about it. I can’t be bothered to be honest with you, it’s football in Scotland, on to Sunday now.
“That’s the way it goes. We need to come here and play doubly well to get the points.”
Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou disagreed that the officials had been the difference.
“That’s not my analysis, I think we were the better team and we deserved to win,” he said.
Postecoglou added that he was “generally pleased” with the performance.
He added: “A bit frustrated because we need to be more ruthless, we need to put teams away for our dominance and we didn’t, so we kind of kept them in the game a little bit.
“Having said that, we still defended well, Joe (Hart) only had one outstanding save to make.”
Postecoglou lost Ralston, Stephen Welsh and Jota to injury during the game but will have Cameron Carter-Vickers back from a personal issue for Sunday’s trip to face Dundee United.
“It’s a good sign of resilience because we lost some key players during the game, and it was Carl Starfelt, Tommy Rogic and Adam Montgomery’s first game for four or five weeks,” the Celtic manager said.
“We picked up some injuries, I don’t know the extent. Tony is probably the one that’s the most concerning because for him to come off I assume it has to be something significant.”