Hibs 2-1 Celtic:Easter Road stars Maclaren and Slivka put Celtic's title party on hold

Lewis Stevenson runs to congratulate Hibs striker Jamie Maclaren (left) after the Australian internationalist had opened the scoring against Celtic from his team-mate's superb cross.
Lewis Stevenson runs to congratulate Hibs striker Jamie Maclaren (left) after the Australian internationalist had opened the scoring against Celtic from his team-mate's superb cross.
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Hibs left champions elect Celtic reeling as they turned in a stunning performance to strengthen their own claims to take second place in the Premiership table.

Jamie Maclaren fired the Hibees ahead midway through the first half and substitute Vykintas Slivka glanced home 11 minutes from time. But the Capital club were left with a nervous finale after Odsonne Edouard pulled one back for Celtic with four minutes left on the clock.

But the Easter Road outfit held on for their first win in five attempts against Celtic this season, leaving the Hoops to wait a little longer before taking another title.

Hibs were dealt a pre-match blow when Darren McGregor failed a fitness test on his hamstring problem and with Scott Allan, on loan from Celitc, unable to play against his parent club, it meant starts for Steven Whittaker and Danny Swanson while suspension ruled Marvin Bartley out completely.

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers made two changes as his side sought to wrap up seventh consecutive Premiership title also made two changes, Jack Hendry and Leigh Griffiths coming in for Mikael Lustig and Moussa Dembele.

There was also a change of referee, Steven McLean taking over from Willie Collum who had called off with a leg injury.

It took Hibs only two minutes to carve out the game's first chance, Dylan McGeouch latching onto Tom Rogic's loose pass and feeding Florian Kamberi who took one touch too many allowing Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon the split-second he needed to narrow the angle and save, From the resultant corner Kamberi got his head to Swanson's corner and would feel he should have done better than power the ball over the bar.

At the other end a charging run fromKris Ajer allowed Griffiths to knock the ball inside for Rogic who saw his shot saved by the legs of Ofir Marciano, the Hibs goalkeeper getting to his feet to push away Griffith's effort from the rebound.

But Hibs took the lead in the 24th minute with a superb goal. Lewis Stevenson came up with a fantastic interception to nick the ball away from Rogic and matched it with the quality of his low cross which left Maclaren with no more than a tap-in at the back post.

The Easter Road outfit were well worth that lead having asked more than a few questions of Celtic's back-line and a second almost came when Swanson's corner broke off Dedryck Boyata, the ball looking net-bound until Gordon got down to his left to pull off a sharp save and avert an own goal.

Celtic tried to hit back, Olivier Ntcham blazing over from a good position before Paul Hanlon stepped in with a timely challenge to block a Griffiths shot bu tit was Hibs who almost aded to their lead on the stroke of half-time, Hanlon meeting Jonn McGinn's free-kick with a glancing header which crept inches wide of the target.

Rarely over the past two seasons would Rodgers have seen his side tested as they had been in the opening 45 minutes of this game but Hibs intent was reinforced at the start of the second half. Swanson had already raced in to block a Goroon clearance when the little playmakier showed great strength to hold off Celtic skipper Scott Brown to drill in a low shot which Gordon saved comfortably down low to his left.

But it took another impressive save from Marciano to keep Hibs ahead, the Israeli internationalist sprinting from his line to block a shot from Rogic after substitute Scott Sinclair's pass had found the midfielder in space inside the home penalty area.

There was controversy just after the hour mark when Swanson and then McGeouch went down, the latter clearly in some distress holding his head after a clash with Jack Hendry but referee McLean allowed Celtic to play on until they had won a corner, a situation Hibs looked like having to face with only nine men until boss Neil Lennon made the clever move of replacing Swanson with Brandon Barker. And ten man Hibs managed to see off that immediate danger.

Barker almost made his presence tell, dropping his shoulder to go past Boyata only to pull his shot well wide, another well-placed pass from Stevenson was only a couple of feet out of the reach of Maclaren as he stole in behind the Celtic defence and then Kamberi made space for himself before releasing a shot which had Gordon scrambling across his line and no doubt grateful to see the ball spin wide.

Lennon would have been concerned given the number of chances his side had created that they were just that solitary goal ahead but his worries eased considerably in the 79th minute when Kamberi gave a sweeping move the ending it deserved, as he delivered an inviting cross for Slivka, to apply the merest of touches with his head to beat Gordon.

Hibs almost had a third when Rogic was short with a pass back, Gordon sliding out to meet the ball only for it to break off Martin Boyle and roll goalwards. Ajer got back to prevent it crossing the line and Celtic made the most of that escape as Odsonne Edouard pulled one back with four minutes of regulation time to go.

The sight of the fourth official's board annouincing five added minutes did nothing to help the nerves of the home fans but Lennon;s players managed to hold out for a thoroughly merited win.

Hibs: Marciano, Whitttaker, Ambrose, Hanlon, Stevenson, Boyle, McGeouch, McGinn, Swanson (Barker 64) Kamberi, Maclaren (Slivka 73).

Substitutes not used: Bell, F Murray, Porteous, Stirling, L Allan.

Celtic: Gordon, Hendry, Ajer, Boyata, Tierney, Brown, Ntcham (Sinclair 46) Forrest (Roberts 70), Rogic, C McGregor, Griffiths (Edouard 65).

Substiutes not used: Bain, Simunovic, Musonda, Kouassi.

Referee: Steven McLean.

Attendance: 19,886