Football/Soccer

Rejuventated Hibs deal Hoops title hopes a blow

Hibernian's Stevie Mallan tackles Celtic's Lewis Morgan with Sean Mackie in support during the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match at Easter Road, Edinburgh Picture by Ian Rutherford/PA
By Ronnie Esplin, Press Association Sport

Hibernian put a dent in Celtic's Ladbrokes Premiership aspirations with a shock 2-0 win over the Hoops at Easter Road yesterday.

Midfielder Vykintas Slivka got the home side off to a dream start when he finished off a fine move with just 46 seconds played and in the 59th minute striker Florian Kamberi (right) hammered in a clinching second

It was Celtic's first league defeat in 10 matches and they are now a point behind Rangers, with one game in hand, and Kilmarnock, who have played two games more than the Hoops.

Rejuvenated Hibs won for the first time in eight games last week against Hamilton and will see this victory as confirmation of a return to their fine early-season form.

However, it has been a mixed few days for Brendan Rodgers' side who qualified for the last-32 of the Europa League on Thursday night despite a 2-1 defeat at Parkhead by Salzburg.

They had no time to settle into the game as the returning Steven Whittaker and Emerson Hyndman combined for a stunning opener.

A sweeping move started with Whittaker brilliantly working himself out of the right-back position before feeding Hyndman, who moved it on to Oli Shaw.

When he switched the ball back to the right-hand side Slivka controlled it on his right foot, moved it on to his left past Parkhead defender Jozo Simunovic and then curled it past Hoops keeper Craig Gordon into the far corner.

Then, in the 12th minute, Gordon made a decent save from Stevie Mallan's

25-yard free-kick, after Emilio Izaguirre had clattered into Whittaker and gave the free away.

The visitors were off the pace although French striker Odsonne Edouard curled an effort from outside the Hibs box just over the bar.

Hibees keeper Ofir Marciano had to claw away a Sinclair chip at the start of the second half for a corner which came to nothing before a great cross at the other end from Mackie missed a couple of Hibs shirts by inches.

Play became increasingly stretched.

Marciano saved a James Forrest drive but as Celtic mounted another attack, they suffered when it broke down and Hibs countered.

With Celtic's defence posted missing, Mackie's long diagonal pass found Kamberi running past Brown and the Hibees attacker sped into the box before thrashing the ball high past Gordon to stun the champions.

Moments later Kamberi's cross just missed Daryl Horgan at the back post and then Rodgers made a double substitution, Scott Sinclair and Izaguirre making way for Lewis Morgan and Jonny Hayes.

As Celtic pressed to get back into the game, Edouard was shown a yellow card by referee Don Robertson for simulation inside the Hibs penalty area.

The Hoops striker soon made way for Mikey Johnston, who moments later slid a pass across the Hibs

six-yard box but found no takers.

Celtic kept pushing and Morgan's left-footed drive from 12 yards escaped the far post.

In the 81st minute, at the other end, Gordon palmed away a Mallan shot but Celtic stormed back in the final stages, only to find the Easter Road defence rock solid.

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