Celtic-bound Scott Brown signed off at Hibs by helping the Leith side to beat his new club in their SPL clash at Easter Road.
The 21-year-old midfielder agreed a £4.4 million switch to join the champions in the week leading up to this match, as he penned a five-year-deal, but he headed in the equaliser which would spark a Hibs comeback.
Despite having pledged his future to the visitors, Brown was given a rousing reception from the home fans – and indeed the Celtic supporters – as he raced all over the pitch in the early stages obviously looking to impress. However, after just six minutes and from only eight yards out, Brown failed to make contact with a fine David Murphy cross from the left letting Celtic’s fragile-looking defence off the hook.
Hibs racked up the corners as they pressed for the opener, but despite having a disjointed look about them, the Celtic defence remained solid.
The home side were more pleasing on the eye as they zipped the ball around the Easter Road pitch against a much-changed visiting side.
Celtic debutant goalkeeper Mark Brown was not really tested until the 31st minute when he had to move sharply to push Merouane Zemmama’s 30-yard drive past his right-hand post for yet another corner.
The Parkhead side offered little in attack but in the 41st minute, with too many Hibs players attacking, striker Craig Beattie latched on to a Thomas Gravesen pass. He could not quite shrug off the attentions of Chris Hogg before toe-poking his shot from just inside the Hibs penalty area over the crossbar.
Hibs regained control of the game in the second period, but in the 56th minute the visitors took the lead with a remarkable Derek Riordan effort.
It looked like a corner would be the best Riordan could hope for, but when he fired the ball towards goal from the tightest of angles, it somehow managed to beat Andrew McNeil and finish up in the far corner of the net.
Riordan was booked for his celebrations, but Celtic suffered more four minutes later when Brown equalised. Dean Shiels’ cross from the right deflected off Celtic captain Stephen McManus’s head and the on-rushing Brown buried a flying header from 12 yards past his namesake in the Celtic goal.
In the 88th minute Zemmama took a cut back from substitute Ivan Sproule, but when a goal seemed certain he somehow blasted the ball over the bar from just six yards out.
But there was one last twist as the game appeared to be petering out.
Sproule, finding space on the right again, broke through the defence to score a dramatic, deserved, winner, rounding Celtic’s Brown and firing through McManus’ legs.
Hibs: McNeil, Whittaker, Jones, Hogg, Murphy, Stevenson, Zemmama, Brown, McCann, Fletcher, Shiels.