ROBBIE Neilson tonight questioned why assistant referee Dougie Potter had allowed Celtic’s second goal to stand – but admitted that Hearts’ strike in the 2-1 defeat at Tynecastle should have been chalked off as well.

Giorgios Giakoumakis, who backheeled the ball beyond Craig Gordon from a few yards out to put the visitors 2-0 ahead six minutes before half-time, appeared to be in an offside position when hs new team mate Matt O’Riley played him in on goal.

However, Neilson confessed that Liam Boyce had also been beyond the Parkhead club’s last defender when Barrie McKay passed to him and stated the cinch Premiership needs to introduce VAR as quickly as possible.

“The ref (John Beaton) did alright, but the linesman let him down,” he said. “The Celtic goal and our goal are two poor decisions. You get decisions like that every week.

“For me, it (Boyce) is a clear-cut one. He's got to see it. There's nobody in between him and the Celtic player. We're all for VAR - the sooner it happens, the better.”
Neilson felt that his side only started playing after half-time – when he put on Everton loanne Ellis Simms up front – and ultimately paid the price for that.   

“I feel a tinge of disappointment,” he said. “I thought we started the game very well, but Celtic are a very good team and we allowed them to be a good team up to half-time.

“And at that point we are 2-0 down and chasing it. The second-half was pleasing, but I thought the first half could be better.

“We changed the shape a wee bit and personnel which always helps and we spoke about getting closer, getting the defensive and midfield lines up which allows us to put more pressure on them.

“In the first half we dropped and dropped and allowed them to control the game. When you get chances you have to take them and we had a few, but it wasn’t to be tonight.”

Neilson brought in Simms today and he is excited about what the English striker will bring to his Hearts team in the months ahead.

“You can see he's going to be a top player for us,” he said. “The plan was to get him half an hour so getting 45 minutes out of him was great. I was very impressed with him. We knew what he could do, but it was just a case of whether he could he do it for us? Tonight was a very good marker.

“It was also good to get Beni Baningme back. He's massive for us. We've really missed him. Although we've picked up results, he allows us to control games.”

Michael Smith (back spasm) and Craig Halkett (hamstring) both limped off injured, but Neilson is hoping Taylor Moore and Smith will be available for the league match against Motherwell this weekend.