Trailing by a goal with just over 20 minutes of this 1-1 draw to go, substitute Nacho Novo seemed to draw the Light Blues level from close range.

But while everyone inside the ground seemed to accept the ball had crossed the line, linesman Martin Cryans said no and referee Eddie Smith didn’t give the goal.

That infuriated Walter Smith’s team and although they did restore parity through Novo 10 minutes on, they couldn’t get a winner when they should have come out on top.

Now, although they’re up to 80 points beside Celtic at the top of the SPL, they trail their city rivals on goal difference and goals scored and sit second.

Of course, there could be more twists and turns with just a pair of fixtures each to play over the next 11 days.

But if it takes more than points to separate them in the end, major questions will be asked about big decisions – and possibly wrong ones – made in this game.

Gers travelled to Edinburgh looking for a win to regain the leader’s spot they took at the weekend in their derby success.

With Kenny Miller ruled out because of a hamstring problem, Andrius Velicka came in as his replacement in the only change to the side that beat Celtic 1-0.

And having scored in each of his four starts recently, including at Easter Road in a 3-2 victory last month, the Lithuanian was hopeful of making a good impact.

There was no repeat of the goal Gers scored inside two minutes the last time they went to the capital but the visitors did start brightly.

Steven Davis, so important in the Old Firm triumph, was first to have a go from a free kick when Kris Boyd was brought down by Ross Chisholm 25 yards out.

But while the Northern Ireland midfielder struck his effort well enough, it was never going to trouble Yves Ma-Kalambay and it sailed wide.

Boyd almost took advantage after a slack ball out of defence from Chris Hogg fell straight to Pedro Mendes and he fed the striker.

He was only denied by home captain Rob Jones, who did just enough to deflect the shot away for a corner that came to nothing.

Rangers had plenty of the ball in the opening exchanges but with the Hibees doing all they could to keep the tempo up, chances to score were rare.

Mendes tried to take the bull by the horns after a one-two with Steven Whittaker at a throw in but his shot was too predictable and off target in any case.

Boyd missed the frame too when the Portugese midfielder flighted in a corner needlessly given away by David van Zanten.

You couldn’t help but feel the Light Blues would have to make one of the few opportunities they were creating count as Hibs aren’t a team often dominated at home.

But rather than do that, they started to look a touch one dimensional and openings became less and less towards the midway point.

With the interval approaching, Velicka caught sight of goal for the first time after he spun Jones but his drive was always rising too high.

And that miss proved costly on 41 minutes when Hibernian, with their first real attempt, took the lead.

They played some intricate stuff on the edge of the box and standing in a ruck of bodies, Riordan curled into the top corner from the edge of the box and a standing start.

Falling behind was rough on Rangers, who had dictated play for most of the game so far, and the onus was on them to come back.

It was clear, however, that a change was needed up front because Velicka just wasn’t producing and Boyd, whilst trying to, couldn’t beat Hogg and Jones by himself.

Sure enough, manager Smith made a double substitution at the break with namesake Steven and Velicka being withdrawn.

Into the fray came Novo and Kyle Lafferty and straight away Rangers were on the offensive.

With the away support roaring them on, it was one-way traffic as the title challengers showed far more urgency than they had in the first period.

Novo volleyed over when Lafferty got away from his marker to cross then poked past after an incredible run up the left flank by Whittaker.

Although Gers were missing chances, the noise from their followers was rising and there was still plenty of hope their team could draw level.

John Rankin sent a reminder of who was leading over the bar after good work on the wing by Lewis Stevenson.

But the Light Blues poured forward again, with Lafferty inches away and Boyd stopped in his tracks by Hogg.

Rangers were throwing everything at Hibs now, with Davis prevented on the line by the keeper and David Weir heading over.

At the same time, they seemed to lose heart a little too and their momentum started to slip as they struggled to make a breakthrough.

Suddenly it was Hibs’ turn to have a go, with Riordan’s crisp rasper testing Alexander as he got down sharply to smother.

Steven Fletcher then played in Riordan after referee Smith somehow failed to award a free kick for a foul on Lafferty but the home hitman was offside.

Back came Gers and with just less than a quarter to go, the massive talking point that might just have swung the title race in Celtic’s favour again.

The ball appeared to go in when Novo forced it forwards after Boyd was blocked but the goal wasn’t given.

Lafferty and Mendes were booked as they protested against the decision and moments later, there were more cries of injustice.

This time it was for a penalty not awarded when Hogg seemed to haul down Novo in the box and luck definitely wasn’t on Smith’s team’s side.

And then, at last, Rangers finally got their big break, with Novo forcing home at the second attempt after Madjid Bougherra crossed from the right.

With less than 10 minutes to go, it was all to play for but Bougherra headed over from a corner.

It was shaping up to be a thrilling climax as Gers turned the screw once again and Novo dived towards goal but saw Ma-Kalambay hold his header.

With seconds to go, it was the last throw of the dice for the Ibrox men and Novo hammered across the face of the goal in hope.

But nobody could connect and with that, it was all square at the top of the table again with two games to go.

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