A late penalty dug Celtic out of a huge hole at Easter Road as Adam Idah kept his cool to dramatically keep the champions out in front in the title race.

Idah’s early opener, also from the spot, had seemed to set Celtic up for a cruise to victory, but Hibs showed real backbone to claw their way back into the contest, and a Dylan Levitt leveller had the game in the balance until the dying embers of the contest.

That is when VAR intervened, and Idah took full advantage to give Celtic a potentially pivotal victory.

Here are the talking points from a barnstormer at Easter Road…

VAR digs Celtic out of a hole, and keeps title challenge on track

There are huge moments within a season which can define it, and Celtic may just have had one here.

With the game on edge and the action going from end to end, Kyogo latched onto a layoff to hit a shot tamely at David Marshall. But there was more to the incident than initially met the eye.

VAR on the other hand caught it clearly, and called referee Nick Walsh over the screen for a closer look, where he adjudged that Joe Newell had in fact fouled the striker in the act of shooting.

It was a massive break for the champions, and Idah stepped up to keep his cool and slot low beyond Marshall from 12 yards for the second time on the evening.

The reaction of the Celtic supporters behind the goal told you everything you needed to know about the gravity of the moment. Had Celtic spilled more points here, it could have proved disastrous to their title defence. The momentum, and the narrative, has all been going against them since hostilities resumed after the winter break.

The challenge now is to ensure that this is the turning of the tide for Brendan Rodgers and his men, and if they do indeed see off the challenge of Rangers in the title race, this night will likely live long in the memory in the same way that Anthony Ralston’s late header against Ross County did a couple of seasons ago.

Idah keeps his cool from spot, but wastefulness frustrates

One start, two goals. The Norwich City loanee followed up his impressive cameo from the bench against Aberdeen by netting within the opening and closing minutes at Easter Road, having been preferred to Kyogo Furuhashi in Brendan Rodgers’ starting XI.

Ok, both were conversions from the penalty spot, but those have hardly been gimmes for Celtic this season. And there was a fair bit riding on both spot kicks, with the champions coming into this game on the back of spilled points at Pittodrie and with pressure mounting as they felt the breath of Rangers on the back of their necks.

The first penalty was all about setting the tone for the evening, and Idah finished coolly to give Celtic the platform to go on and open up some daylight on the evening in the game, and a little in the bigger picture of the league table too.

They didn’t manage to do that though, and Idah was guilty of passing up a couple of opportunities by going a little bit early and being caught offside, and was denied by David Marshall when slipped in by Paulo Bernardo.

He then missed an absolute sitter as the game entered the last 15 minutes, getting on the end of a cross from Alexandro Bernabei but failing to make proper contact before Kyogo dawdled on the loose ball.

All in all, there was a lot to like about Idah’s showing though, but he will have to improve his conversion rate sharpish if he is to inject some life into Celtic’s ailing title defence.

Nick Kuhn with plenty to improve upon

On the other side of the coin, winger Kuhn failed to back up his own eye-catching, goalscoring display in the northeast here, as he struggled to make much of an impression on Hibs left back Jordan Obita in either an attacking or a defensive sense.

In fairness to the German, he is still recuperating from the drastic weight loss he suffered prior coming to the club caused by a problem with his wisdom teeth, and perhaps that could at least partly explain why he looked so lightweight up against the powerful and impressive Obita.

As well as failing to stretch his direct opponent on too many occasions, he also failed to track him back as Obita created the best chance of the first half. His low ball across the Celtic six-yard caused chaos, and Elie Youan really shouldn’t have allowed Liam Scales to produce what was still a brilliant block when the ball fell to him plum in front of goal.

It was no surprise to see Kuhn hooked after Celtic conceded, and there is still clearly work for him to do to become a regular and reliable starter for Rodgers.

Levitt finally arrives as Myziane Maolida makes huge impact

It would be fair to say that the excitement which greeted Levitt’s move to Hibs from Dundee United hasn’t really been matched by his output so far, but he came up with a timely and brilliant reminder of the talent he possesses here.

With Celtic looking comfortable enough sitting on their 1-0 lead, a free kick was floated into their area, and was only partially cleared by Stephen Welsh to the edge of the box. Levitt was waiting there to fire a raking low shot beyond Joe Hart and into his bottom left-hand corner, and suddenly, Celtic were on the ropes.

Credit has to go to under-fire Hibs manager Nick Montgomery, with substitute Myziane Maolida causing all sorts of bother. He almost had the hosts ahead too with an overhead kick that he was unlucky to plant straight at Hart.

The hosts could and probably should have won it late on as a low ball to the back post found Lewis Miller coming in to meet it, but it was a case of the wrong man in the right place as he somehow slid it past the post.

It was one of several massive chances the Hibees had on the night, but they will hope the final half hour here is the marker laid down to kick on for the rest of the season.