'There have been signs of incremental improvement': Journalists' predictions for Hibs v Celtic

Our online team try to predict the result from Saturday's game, where Celtic visit Easter Road in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

Friday, 27th September 2019, 11:06 am
Hibs and Celtic drew 0-0 the last time they met at Easter Road.

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Neil McGlade: It's a formidable task whenever Celtic are in town. It's likely going to take another heroic effort if Hibs are to inflict the first domestic defeat of the season on the champions. The exertions of 120 minutes at Kilmarnock on Wednesday night won't have helped the players in their recovery time. Celtic, meanwhile, made eight changes from last weekend's triumph over Killie as they ran riot against Partick Thistle. You'd expect their first-team regulars to be restored to the starting lineup at Easter Road. Paul Heckingbottom may reshuffle his pack too but I don't think it'll matter one way or another as Celtic will prove too strong whatever side he elects to put out. Prediction: Celtic win

Craig Fowler: Getting a penalty-shoot-out win against a blunt Kilmarnock side doesn't exactly scream "turning point!" for Heckingbottom and his men. It would have raised confidence around the dressing room, though they really could have done with an easier opponent to follow it up with as they desperately try to build some momentum. Instead, it's the reigning champions coming to town with an 100 per cent record so far this season and an absurdly abundant amount of attacking arsenal. With Ryan Porteous in the side Hibs were likely to struggle, without the suspended defender it could be a long day. Prediction: Celtic win

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Hibs and Celtic drew 0-0 the last time they met at Easter Road.

Partick McPartlin: In some ways, following up Wednesday night's energy-sapping, penalty shoot-out win over Kilmarnock with a televised home tie against Celtic is ideal for Hibs, representing something of a free hit. Few, if any, will be expecting Heckingbottom's side to get a result but that could suit them. There have been signs of incremental improvement in the Easter Road side's performances, even if results aren't exactly reflecting it. I still think Celtic will be too strong but I can see Hibs putting in a decent performance against the champions. Prediction: Celtic win

Anthony Brown: Hibs were traditionally competitive against the top teams in the country under previous managers Alan Stubbs and Neil Lennon, but they have generally looked pretty insipid in such matches since Heckingbottom took charge in February. The Betfred Cup triumph over Kilmarnock should have a galvanising effect on Hibs, but Celtic, aware that Rangers are on their coat-tails, should be look well equipped to maintain their flawless start to the Premiership campaign. Prediction: Celtic win

Joel Sked: There was talk of the penalty shoot-out win over Kilmarnock in the Betfred Cup being the result which helps Hibs turn the corner. Only, the Easter Road side don't like what they see around that corner - the Scottish champions coming to Leith. In their 17 fixtures this season they have netted 51 times. During the week they made nine change and won 5-0 and were still able to bring Scott Sinclair off the bench. The huge concern is the midfield area. Scott Brown, Callum McGregor and Ryan Christie, maybe Olivier Ntcham, plus Tom Rogic is back; it is hard to see Paul Heckingbottom's midfield competing with that. Then in attack it is hard to see Christian Doidge doing anything other than being swallowed up by Christopher Jullien and Kristoffer Ajer. I'm not trying to be negative, just realistic, especially as not team has faced more shots in the league than Hibs. However, the Old Firm coming to Edinburgh, it can make players raise their game. But still... Prediction: Celtic win