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  • Celtic held to a draw by Hibernian at Easter Road

    Celtic held to a draw by Hibernian at Easter Road

    By: Tony Connelly on 21 Apr, 2019 14:29

  • Scottish Premiership
    Sunday, April 21, 2019
    Easter Road, Edinburgh






    CELTIC had to settle for just a point on Easter Sunday after the champions were held to a goalless draw by Hibernian in Edinburgh. The Hoops were the better side in a fiercely contested 90 minutes, and created plenty of opportunities to win the game, but a resolute Hibs held on until the final whistle.

    The home side showed their attacking intent early on as both sides fought to establish control early on. Hibernian pressed Celtic aggressively in their own half and tested Scott Bain with a series of chances early on.

    Daryl Horgan was lively in attack and gave Bain cause for concern when he let off a powerful strike from distance which was straight at the Hoops stopper. Moments later a neat one-two inside the box allowed him to swing a pass across the face of goal but thankfully it was just out of reach of Stephane Omeonga.

    Hibs willingness to get forward left space for Celtic to utilise on the counter attack and they did create some good chances in front of goal. The first opportunity for Celtic came from a James Forrest cross out on the right which found Odsonne Edouard. However, after doing well to control the pass with his chest, the French forward failed to connect cleanly with the ball and dragged his shot wide.

    Hibs responded in turn with another threat of their own. Paul McNulty headed down a long diagonal ball into the Celtic box and Paul Hanlon gave the traveling Celtic fans a scare when he got on the end of it only to fire his effort over the crossbar.

    The home side were confident in attack but they did relent under the pressure of Celtic’s pressing. In one instance Jonny Hayes won back possession for Celtic on the edge of the area and quickly lofted a cross into the area which Callum McGregor laid off to Edouard but his shot was blocked.

    The champions looked more in control as the half progressed and they gradually began creating more in the final third. Olivier Ntcham had the Hoops supporters on the edge of their seats with a lovely effort outside the box. Forrest spotted his team-mate in space 20-yards from goal and cut a pass back. Ntcham hit it first time with his right foot and tried to curl the ball into the far corner but Ofir Marciano did well to tip the ball over the crossbar.

    The early momentum created by Hibs had all but dwindled come half time frustration set in as Celtic strengthened their hold on the game. The battle between Scott Brown and Omeonga in the middle of the park summed up the physical nature of the game and the Belgian looked increasingly frustrated as the Brown continued to get the better of him.

    A surge forward from Brown created an opportunity for Hayes just before the break but the Irishman couldn’t keep his shot down.

    Both sides fought to assert their dominance on the game following the break and it was the Hibs keeper who kept his side in contention. Hayes continued to challenge the opposition defence with his direct style of play and Paul Hanlon found himself with a yellow card after a late challenge on the Hoops winger.

    Edouard nearly scored from the resulting free-kick which would have nestled in the top corner had Marciano not got a hand to it.

    Similar to the first 45 minutes Celtic’s superiority showed as the half progressed and Hibs were let off on several occasions. Edouard came agonisingly close to opening the scoring following a Celtic counter-attack initiated by Callum McGregor. He broke clear in midfield and played the ball out wide to James Forrest who zipped a pass into the six-yard box but Edouard didn’t appear to see the cross until the last second and diverted the ball over.

    Substitute Tom Rogic came close after a neat piece of skill opened up enough space for him to shoot from distance but his attempt was off target. Forrest took advantage of a window of opportunity on the edge of the area but his curled shot was saved comfortably by the keeper.

    Hibernian almost stole all three points a few minutes from the end when Vykintas Slivka headed the ball on for Oli Shaw, who tried to slip the ball past Bain but the Hoops stopper reacted brilliantly to stop the shot.

    Edouard and Jozo Simunovic came agonisingly close to doing the same in added time but Marciano was the home hero with two fantastic saves right at the death.

    CELTIC: Bain; Lustig, Ajer, Simunovic, Izaguirre; Brown, Ntcham (Rogic 61), McGregor, Hayes (Sinclair 70), Forrest (Weah 84); Edouard
    Subs: De Vries, Toljan, Benkovic, Burke

    HIBERNIAN: Marciano; Gray, Hanlon, Milligan (Slivka 70), Horgan (Agyepong 82), McNulty, Stevenson, Kamberi (Shaw 70), McGregor, Omeonga
    Subs: Bogdan, Bartley, Gauld, spector


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