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  • Sinclair double extends unbeaten run as Celts draw against Hibs

    Sinclair double extends unbeaten run as Celts draw against Hibs

    By: Tony Connelly on 10 Dec, 2017 14:39

  • Scottish Premiership

    Easter Road, Edinburgh

    Sunday December 12, 2017

     

    HIBERNIAN…2

    (Ambrose 76, Shaw 79)

     

    CELTIC…2

    (Sinclair 59, 63)

     

    SCOTT Sinclair returned to goalscoring action with a brace as Celtic extended their unbeaten domestic run to 68 games in an exhilarating 2-2 draw against Hibernian at Easter Road.  Two second half goals from Sinclair gave Celtic a 2-0 lead but Hibernian fought their way back into the game with goals from Efe Ambrose and Oli Shaw.

    Celtic wasted little time in looking for an opening goal and it almost came in the first few minutes when Ntcham played a brilliant ball over the top for McGregor. Lewis Stevenson tracked back and made a last-gasp tackle just as McGregor was about to pull the trigger.

    The home side struggled to deal with Celtic’s own high-pressing game and were fortunate not to find themselves trailing after some defensive errors. Ntcham intercepted a loose ball by Efe Ambrose and rolled it into Sinclair but the winger was flagged offside inside the penalty area.

    Dylan McGeouch then gifted James Forrest a glorious opportunity midway through the half when his pass across goal was snatched by the Hoops winger. Forrest was one-on-one with Ofir Marciano but he uncharacteristically dragged his shot wide of the post.

    Craig Gordon had little to do but was excellent when called upon. John McGinn produced a fine ball over the Celtic defence and right into the path of Martin Boyle who saw his shot saved by the legs of Gordon.

    As the half progressed Hibs sat in and Celtic’s dominance in possession grew. Celtic passed the ball really well but the clear cut goal scoring opportunities were limited. Mikael Lustig came within inches of breaking the deadlock shortly before the break when Forrest teed up the defender on the edge of the area but the Swede curled his effort beyond the far post.

    Early in the second half Tierney issued a warning to the hosts when he came on to his right foot and let off an ambitious shot from distance. He was kept busy with his defensive duties too as Martin Boyle tested him with his pace.

    Scott Sinclair gave Neil Lennon’s side a scare when he managed to get away from Whittaker inside the box and broke free. Marciano reacted quickly, though, and rushed off his line to smothered the shot and keep the score goalless.

    He could do little to deny Sinclair moments later when the winger touched home the rebound from Odsonne Edouard’s shot which came back off the post, and Sinclair was first to react when he side footed in from close range.

    The Englishman appeared to grow in confidence following the goal and doubled his tally four minutes later when he fired in Celtic’s second of the afternoon. McGregor fed in his team-mate out on the left and Sinclair cut inside. He opened up space for himself before firing a low shot which deflected of Bartley and past a hapless Marciano.

    The invincibles looked determined to kill off the game and began to find more openings in the final third with some tightknit passing but Celtic were unable to find enough space in a packed Hibs area. Ntcham came close with a dangerous looking effort from distance and Sinclair was denied his hat-trick when his flashing shot found the far corner, only to be scrapped by the linesman’s flag.

    Neil Lennon’s side were handed a lifeline back into the game when McGinn worked his way to the byline and cut the ball back for Whittaker. The shot was blocked by Tierney but it fell invitingly to Ambrose whose shot deflected off Lustig and into the Celtic goal.

    Celtic responded immediately and substitute Moussa Dembele broke away from Ambrose before letting off a shot from a tight angle that was saved.

    Hibernian the took their chances and substitute Oli Shaw levelled the scoring just a few minutes later. The young striker showed great composure and strength to turn and get his shot away and over Gordon.

    It was an enthralling and frantic end to the game with great chances from both sides in the closing stages. Boyata almost headed in from a Stuart Armstrong free-kick in the 90th minute and Lustig made a goal-line clearance from Shaw in injury-time to preserve Celtic’s unbeaten run. Sinclair blasted the ball over the crossbar right at the death and game was drawn to a conclusion. The win sees Celtic move five points clear at the top of the Premiership with a game in hand.

     

    CELTIC (4-3-2-1) Gordon; Lustig, Simunovic, Boyata, Tierney; Brown, McGregor, Ntcham (Armstrong 85); Forrest (Hayes, 80) Sinclair; Edouard (Dembele 71)
    Not Used: De Vries, Ajer, Bitton, Griffiths

     

    HIBERNIAN (4-3-2-1) Marciano; Whittaker (McGregor 81), Ambrose, Hanlon, Stevenson; Boyle, Bartley (Shaw 71), Barker (Slivka 81), McGinn, McGeouch, Stokes

    Not Used: Subs: Dabrowski, Matulevicius, Murray, Porteous

     

    Website Man of the Match: Scott Sinclair

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