Hibs 4, Celtic 2: Talking points as Hibees stun Celts for Euro boost
Lee Johnson’s side twice came from behind to stun the champions and give their own hopes of finishing fourth a boost going into Saturday’s Edinburgh derby. Garang Kuol’s late equaliser for Hearts at Ibrox means only a win will do for Hibs. But if they can put in a performance like they did against Celtic they might just do it.
Reo Hatate opened the scoring for the visitors from the penalty spot after Lewis Stevenson was penalised for bringing down Callum McGregor, but Élie Youan levelled seven minutes into the second period.
Oh found the net shortly after to restore Celtic’s lead but with 20 minutes remaining, things kicked off. Substitute Daizen Maeda, already on a yellow card and a high foul count, was booked again and sent off and it looked like Jake Doyle-Hayes was going to follow him after being shown a straight red for bringing down Oh in the centre circle. But VAR intervened, and the dismissal was reduced to a caution. Five minutes later Nisbet levelled from the penalty spot; Youan got his second and Hibs’ third when Bain fumbled his long-range effort into the net, and Paul Hanlon added a late fourth from Miller’s cross. And then there was 11 minutes of injury time.
Miller impresses – again
Lewis Miller hasn’t had the easiest of seasons since moving from Australia, with Johnson describing it as ‘more transitional than we and Lewis would have liked’. The rangy right-back has also had several injury setbacks. He impressed against Celtic in the 3-1 defeat in March but hadn’t started a game until the champions came to Edinburgh… that might just have changed after his showing against Ange Postecoglou’s side. Strong at the back and bagged an assist for Paul Hanlon’s goal. There was a reason he was named in the A-League team of the year just before his transfer. Perhaps the 22-year-old has suffered from being more suited to teams playing a certain type of football but if he can adapt to different kinds of tactics, what a find he could turn out to be.
Hibs lost both CJ Egan-Riley and Joe Newell to second-half injuries, which will likely leave Johnson short going into Saturday’s derby showdown. The two Englishmen are players who would be in the starting line-up for any game, never mind a European decider. There are options – Ewan Henderson and Josh Campbell both came off the bench, while Jake Doyle-Hayes put in a shift in the engine room – but it will be an anxious wait between now and Saturday to find out if either Egan-Riley or Newell will be fit to play.
Something to build on
Hibs have shown in certain games this season – the 6-0 against Aberdeen, the 1-0 win against Hearts, the 3-0 against St Mirren in October – that they can put everything together and play the sort of football Johnson wants them to be playing. Injuries haven’t helped but if Hibs can take those performances into next season, Johnson’s hopes of European group-stage football may not be so fanciful.