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  • Celtic storm into League Cup final after dismantling Hibs

    Celtic storm into League Cup final after dismantling Hibs

    By: Tony Connelly on 02 Nov, 2019 19:35

  • League Cup Semi-Final
    Saturday, November 2, 2019
    Hampden, Glasgow

    CELTIC…5
    (Elyounoussi 18, 44, McGregor 20, Brown 56, 89)

    HIBERNIAN…2
    (Hallberg 36, Kamberi 58)

    CELTIC booked their place in the League Cup final in emphatic fashion as they dispatched Hibernian 5-2. The cup holders continued excellent form with a thoroughly entertaining evening of football at Hampden.

    Mohamed Elyounoussi opened the scoring on 18 minutes before Callum McGregor put Celtic two up minutes later. Hibs snatched a goal back though Malker Hallberg but Elyounoussi added a third for Celtic just before the break. Scott Brown found the back of the net in the second half and Hibs responded with their second through Florian Kamberi. The Celtic captain rounded off the evening with his second just before full-time.

    Hibs had the first opportunity of the game through an ambitious Daryl Horgan effort. The winger cut in from the right and curled a dipping shot from distance towards the far corner that landed on the roof of the net.

    Celtic quickly settled, however, and soon began pressuring their opponents with quick breaks that utilised the width of the pitch. Hibs escaped punishment for a clear handball from captain Paul Hanlon who cleared a Celtic corner at the near post with his arm.

    Undeterred by the injustice, Celtic simply moved up a gear and it wasn’t long before they took the lead thanks to some brilliant wing play from James Forrest, who was in scintillating form. A drop of the shoulder and quick burst of pace saw Forrest skip beyond Adam Jackson and float a cross into the far post for Elyounoussi to head in.

    The second quickly followed when Christopher Jullien picked out Odsonne Edouard with pinpoint accuracy. The long ball over the defence saw Edouard bearing down on the Hibs goal. He tried to dink the ball over the keeper from an angle and McGregor’s run into the box resulted in him pouncing on the deflection and tapping in.

    From there Celtic turned on the style and began peppering the Hibs goalmouth with some wonderful attacking football.

    Frimpong beat his man out on the right and cut a pass back for the waiting McGregor whose shot from the edge of the area was blocked. Jullien then had a header saved before Elyounoussi was denied when his shot from inside the area was blocked by Tom James.

    Hibs grabbed a goal back when they reacted first to Jullien’s headed clearance 20 yards from goal. A quick exchange of passes led to Hallberg getting in front of the Hoops defence and slotting past Fraser Forster from the just outside the six-yard box.

    Celtic picked up from where they left off after conceding and continued to pile the pressure on the Edinburgh side. Tom Rogic did well to spark the attack that led to Celtic’s third. He held a challenge, turned and zipped a pass out to Edouard on the corner of the box.

    The French striker was quickly swarmed by three defenders but his quick footwork got the better of them and he darted towards the byline and passed across goal for Elyounoussi to knock in from close range.

    The Norwegian winger came within inches of bagging a hat-trick shortly after the restart. He created a yard of space for himself and drilled a shot across goal which beat the keeper, only to come back off the inside of the post. Forrest came equally close after drifting inside to collect Elyounoussi’s long ball, but his attempt also struck the post.

    Celtic’s fourth came in the 56th inute from an inswinging Elyounoussi corner which Maxwell’s failed to deal with when coming out to collect. Scott Brown was in place to volley in with a simple side-footed effort from three yards out.

    A quick response from Hibs reduced Celtic lead when Florian Kamberi met James’ cross with a glancing header that nestled in the bottom corner. The Edinburgh side grew in confidence after getting their second goal and almost grabbed another when Christian Doidge was inches away from connecting with a Florian Kamberi’s fizzing low cross towards the far post.

    Celtic remained a constant threat going forward, however, and looked intent on adding to their lead as the game drew to a close.

    Edouard was fantastic up front and troubled the Hibs defence with his footwork and link-up play with his team-mates, but the French forward was unable to cap off his performance with a goal despite testing the keeper numerous times.

    Brown, however, marked an excellent performance with a second goal right at the end. He collected the ball inside his own half and tore forward in possession before finishing a neat one-two with Elyounoussi.

    CELTIC: Forster; Frimpong, Jullien, Ajer, Bolingoli (Hayes 45); Brown, Rogic (Christie 79), McGregor, Forrest (Elhamed 66), Elyounoussi; Edouard
    Subs: Gordon, Bitton , Ntcham, Johnston

    HIBERNIAN: Maxwell, Hanlon, Vela, Horgan (Slivka 68), Doidge (Boyle 75), Mallan, Stevenson, James, Jackson, Hallberg, Allan
    Subs:Marciano, Whittaker, Newell, Naismith, Kamberi

    Website Man of the Match: Scott Brown

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