Celtic’s chances of winning Ten-in-a-Row are hanging by a thread after yet another disappointing result at Easter Road this afternoon. Celtic fans flocked to pay £15 to Hibs TV to watch the game and in the first 45 minutes the Champions were all on top but failed to trouble the Hibs defence despite having the vast majority of the play.
A Ryan Christie effort from the edge of the area was well saved by Marciano and from an unusually decent corner from Christie, Moi Elyounoussi just needed a firm contact with his header to give Celtic the lead. The half-time whistle couldn’t come quickly enough for Jack Ross as his side hung on but Bobby Madden’s whistle allow him the chance to regroup and re-think his plan.
Celtic started with Albian Ajeti upfront but the Swiss striker failed to make any impact on the game.
The second half started in a similar fashion until Bobby Madden decided that, when Marin Boyle backed into Scott Brown at the edge of the Celtic penalty area, he was fouled by the Celtic captain. Penalty to Hibs. It was soft, indeed it looked a foul to Celtic but Madden had missed one for Hibs in the first half when the ball struck Kris Ajer’s arm, so Hibs would feel that justice was done.
Nisbet stepped forward to take the spot kick, Scott Bain saved brilliantly but was let down by no-one especially the speedy Jeremie Frimpong following in. Jamie Murphy, on loan from theRangers was faster of thought and movement and found the bottom corner of Bain’s net. Advantage Hibs after 54 minutes and it has to be said it was against the run of play.
Talking of theRangers, Hibs seemed to be playing the same tactic that the Ibrox side deploy against Celtic and it worked spectacularly for Jack’s side when a diagonal from the left exposed Celtic’s lack of defence know-how and height at right back and an unchallenged header set up Nisbet who made up for his penalty miss to double the home side’s advantage.
Celtic’s struggled to cope with the position they found themselves in and looked a beaten side. However the introduction of Odsonne Edouard raised spirits ever so slightly and Marciano was forced to make a few saves but it looked like Hibs would comfortably hold on.
Then Celtic got a bit of luck their play at this stage hardly deserved when a Hibs clearance went straight up in the air and in the resulting struggle an arm was used and Bobby Madden pointed to the spot. Edouard made no mistake and with ten minutes to play Celtic were back in the game.
Tom Rogic had a chance from the edge of the area when the ball feel to him perfectly and while you’d have expected an equaliser, the shot again was saved by the impressive Hibs keeper.
Neil Lennon brought on Duffy and Griffiths and went three at the back with two up front and in the losing stages, again after Hibs failed to clear their lines Diego Laxalt showed plenty of computer inside packed penalty area to blast the ball high into the Hibs net to salvage point.
We are now 8 points behind theRangers with one game in hand so the situation is still within Celtic’s hands. This may turn out to be a valuable point come May but few will be celebrating it tonight.
The first priority needs to be to get a defence that can defend and Jeremie Frimpong is too small and too forward minded to be a right back. Teams target him and his lack of defensive instincts – especially as he is so fast – after the penalty cost Celtic dear. Hibs knew what they were doing for the second goal too as Frimpong stood rooted to the spot for the cross. A great wee player, but he’s a winger, not a right back.
Pass marks to Bain, Ajer, Laxalt and Edouard. The rest were disappointing and the result could have been much worse. Questions now need to be asked and Neil Lennon will come under increasing pressure amid growing evidence that he’s now lost the dressing room.
HIBERNIAN: Marciano; P. McGinn, Hanlon, Porteous, Mackie, Gogic, Boyle, Mallan (Hallberg 84), Newell (S. McGinn 89), Murphy (Gray 80), Nisbet
Subs: Barnes , McGregor, Doig, Wright, Bradley, Gullan.
CELTIC: Bain; Bitton, Brown (Duffy 72), Ajeti (Edouard 57), Christie, Rogic (Ntcham 87), Elyounoussi (Griffiths 72), Frimpong, Ajer, McGregor, Laxalt.
Subs: Barkas, Taylor, Klimala, Elhamed, Henderson