Robbie Neilson lamented Hearts’ wastefulness in front of goal as they lost 2-0 at home against a clinical Rangers.
The Tynecastle boss felt his side controlled long periods of a match in which they hit the woodwork twice and had a strong penalty claim waved away when Connor Goldson appeared to handle in the box.
However, cinch Premiership leaders Rangers held on to claim the three points following early goals from Alfredo Morelos and Joe Aribo.
Neilson said: “I’m frustrated because we had chances to score goals at the start, and then they had two very good finishes, which made it difficult for us.
“If we took our chances, it would have been a different game but that was the difference between the two teams. Even first half when we went 2-0 down, we still controlled the game, I thought. They had two shots on target in the first half, we had several.
“It was that final moment we didn’t take. It shows where we are as a team that over the course of the game we had more possession, more shots and more shots on target.
“We just didn’t have that final moment. We hit the bar twice, we had a potential penalty, but the difference is you need to put the ball in the net. [The goalkeeper] Allan McGregor was really good but we had chances where we shouldn’t have given him the opportunity to make the save.
“Our downfall was down to us because we had the chances to score and win the game. On the balance of the play, we were probably the better team but they took their two moments.”
Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst praised his team for standing up to a tough challenge as they made it six Premiership wins in a row and four in succession since he replaced Steven Gerrard last month.
The Dutchman told Sky Sports: “We’ve had a big win at a difficult place to go. You could see in the first minutes what Hearts would bring to the game. They started really well but we defended the pressure well and made sure we were dangerous in the counter-attacking moments.
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“I think we did perfectly in the first 15 minutes, which gave us confidence. The 2-0 scoreline was important. They also had a lot of chances but we kept fighting as a team and worked together to get a result, especially in the second half when the game got quite physical.
“We were good at keeping the ball when they went to 10 men (following Josh Ginnelly’s 80th minute red card) and dominated the last phase of the game.
“For me, the most important thing at difficult grounds like this is that we play our own game, keep our standards and keep our level high. The outcome of the game relies upon ourselves and today we were there for the whole game, and that’s why we won.”
An inventive set-piece allowed Tom Rogic to net the only goal in a 1-0 win against Motherwell as Celtic came through their first test without a recognised striker.
Rogic converted David Turnbull’s disguised delivery at the end of an end-to-end first half during which Motherwell hit the bar.
The home side were far more comfortable after the break as they restored a four-point deficit on Rangers but they suffered another injury to an attacking player when James Forrest trudged off with a muscle problem.
Celtic were without a centre-forward in their 18-man squad after midweek hamstring injuries to Albian Ajeti and Kyogo Furuhashi, although the latter’s problem was described pre-match by Ange Postecoglou as “not significant”.