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  • Celtic hammer Hibs in confident Paradise performance

    Celtic hammer Hibs in confident Paradise performance

    By: Joe Donnelly on 27 Sep, 2020 16:51

  • Scottish Premiership
    Sunday, September 27, 2020
    Celtic Park, Glasgow


    CELTIC… 3
    (McGregor 7, Ajeti 35, Elyounoussi 78)

    HIBS… 0

    CELTIC followed Thursday’s UEFA Europa League victory in Latvia with a confident 3-0 win against Jack Ross’ in-form Hibernian at Paradise this afternoon (Sunday). First half goals from Callum McGregor and Albian Ajeti, and a fine finish from Mohamed Elyounoussi with 12 minutes remaining ensured Neil Lennon’s men closed the gap at the top of the Premiership to a point with a game in hand.  

    It was a lively start to proceedings, as both teams pressed high up the pitch, passing well and stretching the game in the opening stages. After just three minutes, the visitors’ high offence allowed Jeremie Frimpong – in for the injured James Forrest on the right flank – to burst forward on the counter, only to be hauled down by Paul Hanlon on the edge of the box.

    Christie sent the ensuing set-piece into the wall, before Hibs forged their own fast break from the back towards Martin Boyle on the left wing. The Easter Road side’s No.10 in turn sent a dangerous ball towards the six-yard line, which Hoops stopper Vasilis Barkas smothered on his second attempt.

    Again pressing Jack Ross’ side high up the pitch, the champions’ breakthrough came after seven minutes via Callum McGregor. After collecting Ryan Christie’s square-ball from the inside-right channel, the 27-year-old strode towards goal before zipping a low left foot effort across keeper Ofir Marciano into the right corner of the net.

    To their credit, Hibs continued to press with intent which called for concentration from Celtic’s back three of Shane Duffy, Nir Bitton and Kris Ajer. On the quarter-hour mark, the visitors carved their best chance of the half when Kevin Nisbit did well to cut-back from the by-line for Christain Doidge, whose snapshot attempt skimmed the crossbar on its way out of play.

    At the other end, Frimpong was again quick to turn defence into attack on the right flank, and battled well with the physicality of Hibs left-back Josh Doig. Still, chances remained at a premium as Celtic looked to extend and Hibs sought to pull level.

    With half-an-hour played, Frimpong remained the Hoops’ biggest threat – again showing the explosive pace and determination which earned him Man of the Match in midweek.

    On 35 minutes, some neat combination play between the wing-back and Christie saw the ball break to Elyounoussi 12 yards from goal. The Norwegian internationalist did well to get a shot away under pressure, which Marciano parried out into the path of Ajeti. The striker duly fired home first-time to double his side’s lead, but appeared to injure his hamstring in the process, substituted for Odsonne Edouard in the aftermath of his goal celebration.

    Celtic’s next half-chance of the opening period saw Christie float the ball towards the left by-line, but neither Greg Taylor of Elyounoussi could connect. Hibs again worked their counter-attack well, before Boyle sent a powerful right-foot over the bar.

    The Hoops almost made it three before the break when Taylor showed great pace on the left before whipping a ball between the opposition goalkeeper and last defender. The cross missed Elyounoussi at the front post, before Frimpong sent his effort high six yards from goal at the back.

    On for Ryan Christie at half-time, David Turnbull looked sharp from kick-off, helping Nir Bitton create Celtic’s first clear-cut chance of the second period. After holding up the ball on the inside-right flank, the 21-year-old slipped the ball to the overlapping Israeli, who in turn forced a fine stop at full-stretch from Marciano.

    In the 53rd minute, Turnbull sent a wicked out-swinging free-kick into the box, cleared only as far as Scott Brown, who forced another fine save from the Hibs Stopper. Moments after that, Turnbull again made his presence felt when his 20-yard effort was denied by the fingertips of the keeper. Shortly after that again, Edouard came close when he headed a Turnbull corner towards goal which was cleared off the line by Paul McGinn.

    Despite Celtic’s pressure, Hibs held firm but offered little in the final third. Joe Newell came closest in the 65th minute, but scooped his effort inside the box well over the mark. With the match opening up, Frimpong continued to utilise space on the right, and on 70 minutes, laid the ball off to McGregor. His rasping attempt from 20 yards was however denied by a strong right arm from Marciano.

    Into the final quarter-hour and the visitors stepped out in search of a goal. After a flurry of scrambles in the Hoops penalty area, Nisbit came closest on 77 minutes but was charged down by Duffy.

    With Hibs playing so far forward, however, Celtic worked another neat counter-attack to make it three. In a relentless move, Ajer played long to Edouard, the Frenchman played the ball inside to Turnbull, the 21-year-old threaded the ball through to Elyounoussi, and the Norwegian slipped the ball home to the keeper’s left.  

    It was no less than the home side deserved, given their dominance from back to front. Edouard might have added another in the closing stages, played in by late substitute Ismaila Soro, but Marciano was equal to his low effort.

    Another comprehensive domestic victory for Neil Lennon’s men, which bodes well for Thursday’s UEFA Europa League play-off against FK Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovinian.  

    CELTIC: Barkas; Bitton, Duffy, Ajer; Brown (Ntcham 82), Frimpong, Christie (Turnbull 46), McGregor (Soro 86), Taylor; Elyounoussi (Klimala 82), Ajeti (Edouard 37)
    Subs not used: Bain, Griffiths, Rogic, Elhamed

    HIBS: Marciano; McGinn, Porteous, Hanlon, Doig (Stevenson 46); Boyle, Wright (Murphy 53), Gogic, Newell, Doidge (Mallan 83), Nisbit
    Subs not used: Barnes, Gray, McGregor, Hallberg, Shanley, Gullan

    Website Man of the Match: Callum McGregor

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