Celtic 6, Hibs 1: James Forrest hits hat-trick as Hoops run riot at Parkhead
A James Forrest-inspired Celtic hit Hibs for six on Saturday as the winger hit a hat-trick to reach a century of goals for the Hoops.
Giorgos Giakoumakis added a brace and Daizen Maeda also got on the scoresheet with Élie Youan opening his account for Hibs with the visitors’ consolation.
Lee Johnson made two changes to his side, bringing in Lewis Stevenson for Marijan Čabraja and handing Harry McKirdy his first start in place of Youan as the Hibs boss explained that he was focusing on communication with a starting XI including ten English speakers.
A pity no one had told the Hibs back four as they were cut open with far too much simplicity, Sead Haksabanovic’s cross falling for Forrest to tap in at the back post.
Barely five minutes later it was two, Celtic breaking swiftly down the left and Alexandro Bernabei’s cross perfectly timed for the onrushing Giakoumakis to cushion a shot past David Marshall.
Celtic looked threatening every time they poured forwards but their third was a a personal disaster for Marshall on his league return to Parkhead. His defence did him no favours but when the ball fell to Forrest on the edge of the box his shot was straight at the goalkeeper. Ninety-nine times out of 100 it would be an easy gather but the ‘keeper fumbled it over the line. He may have been unsighted and there are certainly questions to be asked of the defence but it wasn’t one the captain will want to see again.
There were no further goals in the first half and Johnson rang the changes at the interval, throwing on Čabraja, Youan, Kyle Magennis, and Rocky Bushiri for Stevenson, McKirdy, Mykola Kukharevych, and Chris Cadden as Hibs changed shape to a 3-5-2.
Initially it worked as Boyle played in Youan ten minutes after the break and he beat Joe Hart at his near post to reduce the deficit, but it appeared to merely anger Celtic as Forrest restored their three-goal lead following an error by Nohan Kenneh to mark his 100th goal for the Hoops and his hat-trick on the day.
Bushiri powered a header just over from a corner and Magennis tested Hart from range but Hibs looked shellshocked and liable to be prised apart with each wave of attack.
Fifteen minutes later Giakoumakis added his second and Celtic’s fifth, sweeping home from the edge of the area from substitute Liel Abada’s cut-back via Bushiri, whose touch carried it away from Marshall.
Demi Mitchell made a return to action for the first time since the opening day of the campaign, replacing Kenneh for the final 12 minutes or so, and he wasn’t too far away from connecting with Čabraja’s cross as time ticked down.
Marshall produced a fine save late on to deny Abada but seconds later Daizen Maeda got in on the act, clipping in the sixth via the far post
It was a bleak day in Glasgow for Hibs with few positives to take from a one-sided encounter. Bar a spell shortly after half-time when Youan scored and the visitors looked a little more threatening with a changed shape, Celtic were dominant and in the end, Hibs will be thankful they kept it to six.