TONY SIBBICK says that Hearts were denied a ‘blatant’ free-kick in the build-up to Celtic’s equaliser in his side’s 4-1 defeat in Glasgow, a moment he felt turned the match in the home side’s favour.

Hearts had taken an early lead at Celtic Park through Ellis Simms, and were managing to frustrate Celtic until Daizen Maeda levelled after half an hour.

Sibbick was furious though that Celtic captain Callum McGregor was not penalised by referee Don Robertson for the challenge on him that led to the hosts winning back the ball, feeling he had clearly been fouled.

“It’s a blatant one,” Sibbick said.

“I haven’t seen it back yet, but he’s came from the side or behind me and just swiped my legs and got the ball.

“I thought the ref was going to give it but he didn’t and they went down the other end and scored.

“It was a key moment at 1-0, we were defending well, they didn’t have space to play.

“If the ref gives that as a foul then we get a set piece and it’s a goal scoring chance for us. But they’ve got the quality to go down the other end and score.

“I tried to talk to the ref but wasn’t trying to listen. He said he won the ball but I think it’s a foul.

“Even the second goal, I think Gino (Josh Ginelly) kicked it on to their player for our throw in but he gave it to them.

“Trying to talk to the ref is tough and, with the crowd behind them as well, he’s going to get influenced. It’s a tough one really.

“When the crowd starts getting frustrated, it can take a toll on the team. Your fans want to win and it was a big game for them.

“They knew what was at stake and so did we. Unfortunately it didn’t pan out the way we wanted.”