However, it was his strike partner Elie Youan who provided the matchwinner to ensure that the capital battle for fourth place in the Premiership will go down to a final day shoot-out in Gorgie on Saturday, when Hibs take on Hearts at Tynecastle.
The match raged from end to end from start to finish, as did results and various permutations for the season as a whole. For everyone in the stands it was a case of keeping one eye on this match and one eye on the games.While others tussled for league survival, Hibs were one of four clubs still vying for a European spot.
By the end of the evening, Aberdeen had secured themselves third spot and guaranteed group stage competition on the continent next term. For the others, though, there is still plenty to play for. Hearts, despite having their early 1-0 lead at Ibrox overhauled, had looked safe in fourth, leaving Hibs and St Mirren hoping that Celtic can complete the domestic treble and free up one last UEFA qualifying vacancy for the fifth-placed finisher. But a late rally by Lee Johnson’s men, who moved up a gear or two to get themselves back on level-pegging and harnessed that momentum to run out 4-2 winners.
With Hearts unable to pick up any points at Ibrox, it allowed Hibs to move one point behind their city foes and set up a humdinger of a derby. It also ruled St Mirren out of the running, even before they turn up at Ibrox at the weekend.
The Easter Road side’s chances of heading across the city with fourth place still up for grabs looked forlorn earlier in the evening. They started brightly against a Celtic side that has now won only one of their last five league games. But, with Ange Postecogloy shuffling his squad, even giving back-up goalkeeper Scott Bain his first outing of the season, Hibs earned the three points they needed to keep their season alive.
There were openings for both sides in the first half but it was the visitors who made the breakthrough, after Lewis Stevenson conceded a penalty, which Reo Hatate was more than willing to convert. That was in the 41st minute but Hibs came back out for the second half in determined mood. In the 52nd minute Elie Youan equalised, before Hyeongyu Oh restored Celtic’s lead.
But then Daizen Maeda was sent off for his second yellow in the 67th minute. It was an undoubted advantage to the home side and there was a sigh of relief when Jake Doyle-Hayes’ red a few minutes later was downgraded to a yellow after VAR intervened.
Nisbet stepped to end his penalty blues in the 75th minute and Hibs kept their foot on the pedal and late goals for Youan – courtesy of a bad error from Bain, who had made a number of saves throughout – and then Paul Hanlon wrapped up the win and set up the dramatic conclusion to the season.