Story of Hibs 1 Celtic 3: How Ange Postecoglou's side obliterated seven-year Easter Road hoodoo inside 30 minutes
After a bold start by a number of challengers, it was a Glasgow one-two at the top of the table, reminding anyone looking to mix things up that a higher degree of consistency will be required to keep pace.
Three goals in the opening half an hour gave the visitors an unassailable lead at Easter Road and set them on their way to the first league win there since 2014.
After giving their rivals a head start the Parkhead side are gathering momentum and while recent history - they have enjoyed only two Premiership wins at Easter Road in the past decade - suggested it would be a tough one, they demonstrated their intent early doors. It left the home defence rattled as first Anthony Ralston, then Cameron Carter-Vickers and also Kyogo Furuhashi exploited their vulnerabilities.
At that period in the game there were plenty to be taken advantage of as Celtic’s pace, fluidity and rapier edge cut them open with great frequency.
It was not the start that Hibs needed. Already on a three-game run of defeats and having dropped out of the top four for the first time in over a season, they have had to look for solutions in a squad hit by suspensions and long-term injury to key personnel.
The last time they had been on such a negative run was at the turn of the year. Back then, they stopped the rot with a draw against Celtic. But Ange Postecoglou’s team are a far more accomplished entity than the one that Hibs faced last season and while they offered Hibs a modicum of hope by allowing them to reduce the deficit in the 36th minute, they never looked like relinquishing their grip on the game.
Ryan Porterous was back in the Hibs ranks after serving his ban for the recent Ibrox red card. After both Nathan Wood and Darren McGregor had been brought in to fill the void, it was seen as a welcome return but it took him a while to settle.
But he was the man credited with Hibs 36th minute goal, although there will no doubt be a prolonged debate with his mate Martin Boyle, with both appearing to go for Joe Newell’s corner. As the ball bypassed Joe Hart on the way into the net, Boyle sprinted off in celebration, looking like a man with a claim.
But, it ultimately mattered very little. Because while the home side upped the performance levels significantly in the second half, as manager Jack Ross sacrificed the defensive presence of Alex Gogic at half-time, throwing young Josh Campbell on instead, Celtic were capable of coping with anything that came their way.
The insecurities and issues that dogged Celtic last season seem a distant memory these days as they closed the gap on table-topping Rangers.
Things might have been different, if Joe Hart hadn’t stepped up to block Joe Newell’s shot at the back post just minutes after Ralston had met a freekick into the area and sent his header home and shortly before Carter-Vickers extended the Celtic lead and ensured the momentum was theirs.
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