CELTIC dropped two points at Easter Road after failing to find a way past a Hibs goalkeeper in outstanding form. And Scott Bain produced a crucial save himself to avoid an even more frustrating afternoon in the Sunshine on Leith.
Celtic are now NINE points ahead with FOUR games to go and require FOUR points to secure 8IAR. If Celtic beat Kilmarnock on Saturday it will be up to the Rangers to beat their bogey team Aberdeen a week today. Then it is the game the SPFL always try to avoid – a title party at Pittodrie or Ibrox.
Our remaining league games are as follows:
Saturday 27 April – Celtic v Kilmarnock
Saturday 4 May – Aberdeen v Celtic
Sunday 12 May – Rangers v Celtic
Sunday 19 May – Celtic v Hearts
The Scottish Cup Final is the next weekend, Saturday 25 May, again against Hearts.
Back to today’s game, Hibs opened brightly with Daryl Horgan bringing out a decent save from Scott Bain in the opening minute as the home side tried to repeat the trick they puled against Celtic from back in December.
Then Horgan drilled a dangerous ball across the six yard line and luckily enough for Celtic Stephane Omeonga failed to get a touch which would have opened the scoring.
As Celtic attempted to play their way into the game Hibs caught them on a counter through Stephane Omeonga who forces Scott Bain back into action with the keeper conceding a corner with his save.
Ten minutes in, Celtic had a great chance to open the scoring when a James Forrest cross, found Odsonne Edouard in space but the French striker dragged his effort wide of the post.
Then Stevie Mallen delivered a dangerous cross into the Celtic box which is headed down by Marc McNulty to David Gray, however, the defender’s shot went high over the bar.
It was end to end stuff in the Easter Sunday sunshine on Leith and Celtic were next to try to break the deadlock. Impressive pressing from Jonny Hayes resulted in the Irishman winning the ball and playing in Callum McGregor who found Edouard inside the box but his effort was deflected wide for another corner and predictably enough nothing came from that.
Hayes was involved again in 26 minutes when he swung another decent cross into the box, it reaches Mikael Lustig whose cut back to Olivier Ntcham results in an excellent curled effort that Ofir Marciano but the Hibs keeper saved brilliantly.
Ntcham and Lustig link up again on the half hour mark and this time the French midfielder who picks out Lustig, however, his header is held comfortably by the keeper.
Celtic were dominating play, having weathered the early Hibs storm but there was still no breakthrough. With 40 minutes gone skipper Scott Brown pushed forward and found Jonny Hayes who shot over from just outside of the box.
Hibs got the final opportunity to open the scoring after winning a corner just before the interval but it was over hit and the first half ended goalless.
Celtic started the second half in a more subdued fashion. In 56 minutes Stevie Mallen went into the referee’s book after a late challenge on Mikael Lustig, luckily the big Swede was okay to continue after what looked like a bad one
Another Hibs player was booked – this time Stephane Omeonga after a cynically late challenge on Kristoffer Ajer. The Jonny Hayes wona free-kick in a great position and Paul Hanlon is booked for the foul on the Irishman – His clearly weren’t taking prisoners. Edouard’s free-kick is brilliantly saved Ofir Marciano in the Hibs goals.
Tom Rogic replaced the out-of-sorts Olivier Ntcham on the hour mark and ten minutes later Scotty Sinclair came on for Jonny Hayes as Neil Lennon looked for a goal.
James Forrest delivered a low, powerful cross towards the six-yard box, however with the Hibs defender missing the clearance Odsonne Edouard wasn’t able to adjust his feet in time and the ball bounced off him and wide of the post.
Stephane Omeonga has a pass intercepted by Scott Brown and on the counter attack, Tom Rogic found himself with plenty of space, however the Australian fired just wide from the edge of the area.
Inside the last ten minutes Ofir Marciano held on to a James Forrest shot before play is halted for David Gray to receive treatment. Minutes later Celtic survived a scare when Lewis Stevenson drove down the left before getting on to a through ball, his cross found Marc McNulty inside the area, however, the header is off target.
Timo Weah replaced James Forrest on 85 minutes for Celtic’s final change of the day but it was Hibs who almost scored. Vykintas Slivka headed the ball down to Oli Shaw inside the box who does well but Scott Bain makes a great save.
Five minutes of stoppage time was added and Celtic went all out looking for the winner. Lewis Stevenson became the next Hibs player to pick up a yellow card for a late challenge on Callum McGregor at the edge of the box.
Tom Rogic’s effort isn’t his best and was blocked by the wall but Celtic kept pressing and moments later, Ofir Marciano produces two big saves to keep the score level from Edouard – who should have scored and Simunovic.
Man of the Match – Scott Brown
‘He may require surgery,’ Lenny’s worrying news on KT
KIERAN TIERNEY has not made the Celtic squad today and Neil Lennon has told Sky Sports in his pre-match interview that the 21 year old fans favourite may now need to have an operation on his on-going pelvic problem.
Asked about KT’s absence Lenny told Sky Sports: “He’s a bit sore.
“He’s going to see a specialist this week and we’ll get a sort of clearer indication as to where he is with it.
“He may require surgery but we’re trying to hold that off until the end of the season.”
Lennon will need to balance the value that KT brings to the side as they focus on wrapping up the eighth consecutive league title and look towards the Scottish Cup final on 25 May, where the team can secure a very special Treble Treble, with the importance of the Champions League qualification campaign in the summer.
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