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2008-03-01: Hibs 0-2 Celtic, Premier League
|Match Pictures | Matches:2007 - 2008 | 2007-2008 Pictures|
McNeil, Gathuessi, Hogg, Canning, Zarabi, Kerr (Zemmama 76), Beuzelin (Chisholm 16), Murray, Rankin, Fletcher, Nish (O'Brien 75).
Subs Not Used: Grof, Morais, Campbell, Hanlon.
Booked: Murray, Rankin, Chisholm.
Boruc, Hinkel, Caldwell, McManus, Naylor, Nakamura (Robson, 85), Scott Brown, Donati (Hartley, 82), McGeady, Vennegoor of Hesselink (Samaras, 72), McDonald.
Subs not used:- Mark Brown, O'Dea, Sno, Riordan.
Goals: Naylor 63, Samaras 74.
Ref: I Brines
KDS MOTM:- Scott Brown (Link to MOTM Winners 2007/08)
- Match Report (see end of page below)
Hibernian 0-2 CelticBy Julian Taylor
Celtic chalked up their first victory over Hibernian this season in a keenly-contested clash at Easter Road.
Artur Boruc denied John Rankin early on, but Hibs paid the price for failing to capitalise on a good first half.
Boruc frustrated Colin Nish as Celtic took control after the break, with Lee Naylor shooting home his first goal for the club after 63 minutes.
Substitute Giorgios Samaras rose to head a superb second in 74 minutes from Aiden McGeady's cross to seal the win.
Celtic will feel especially relieved to come away from Edinburgh with all three points, in what was a tough examination from Mixu Paatelainen's men.
Hibernian - who had lost just one game in eight - were hoping to continue their unbeaten run against the Glasgow club, with a win and a draw earlier this term.
Goalkeeper Yves Ma-Kalambay failed to recover from injury and was replaced by McNeil, while Paatelainen drafted in Abderraouf Zarabi, Brian Kerr and Guillaume Beuzelin.
Dean Shiels did not feature in the squad, while Paul Hanlon and Merouane Zemmama dropped to the bench.
Celtic, who beat Inverness Caledonian Thistle in midweek, welcomed back Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink in place of Samaras who returned to the bench.
The first chance fell to Hibernian, but Boruc was alert to block Rankin's low shot with his legs inside the penalty area, after the midfielder burst beyond the visitors' defence.
Nish followed with a powerful header into the net, but it was a fraction offside, as Celtic's defensive capabilities were put to frequent early tests.
Hibs were dealt a blow however, in the 15th minute, when the injured Beuzelin had to go off, with Ross Chisholm getting his chance.
Former Hibee Brown was at the heart of most moves by Celtic, but the Scotland midfielder should have done better with a drive which failed to trouble McNeil.
McGeady, the expected threat by Celtic, was well attended to by Ian Murray in the first half as the Hoops tried to press forward.
Brown picked up a loose ball in the box to fire in a left foot shot, but McNeil was alert to the danger.
With Hibs looking dangerous, Martin Canning saw his glancing header go past the far post from Brian Kerr's corner, and there were no takers from Rankin's low cross just before the break.
Canning stopped a goalbound Brown effort with Celtic going on an early second half offensive.
In response, Nish almost surprised Boruc with a well-taken dipping shot, but the Polish keeper denied the striker, who was making his presence felt.
Celtic were beginning to win the midfield battle, and it was the unlikely figure of Naylor who drove forward unattended from the half way line, to fire the Hoops in front.
The full back was allowed to surge to the edge of the box, before receiving a fortunate deflection off Hogg - and it was enough to give him time to drill a right foot shot into the corner of the net.
Brown, increasingly impressive, was unfortunate to see McNeil turn away his fine shot with Celtic's confidence clearly growing from Naylor's goal.
But shortly after coming on for Vennegoor of Hesselink, Samaras put matters beyond doubt with a textbook header.
In a re-run of his goal at Celtic Park against Inverness on Wednesday, the Greek rose to bullet home from McGeady's spinning cross.
Canning clipped the bar with five minutes left from a corner, as spirited Hibs refused to falter.
However, his frustration at the miss summed up a futile afternoon for the Edinburgh club, particularly after such an enterprising first half performance.
Hibernian: McNeil, Gathuessi, Hogg, Canning, Zarabi, Kerr (Zemmama 76), Beuzelin (Chisholm 16), Murray, Rankin, Fletcher, Nish (O'Brien 75). Subs Not Used: Grof, Morais, Campbell, Hanlon.
Booked: Murray, Rankin, Chisholm.
Celtic: Boruc, Hinkel, Caldwell, McManus, Naylor, Nakamura (Robson 85), Scott Brown, Donati (Hartley 82), McGeady, Vennegoor of Hesselink (Samaras 72), McDonald. Subs Not Used: Mark Brown, O'Dea, Sno, Riordan.
Goals: Naylor 63, Samaras 74.
Ref: I Brines
Samaras rises to challenge
Patrick Glenn at Easter Road
The Observer, Sunday 2 March 2008
Celtic's supporters reaffirmed that victory in any guise is acceptable during those times when the race for the championship is as competitive as it is at the moment. This visit to a traditionally testing venue - they lost 3-2 at Easter Road in September - was a prime example of a moderate performance yielding a worthwhile reward.
It was not until shortly before Lee Naylor scored the opening goal that Gordon Strachan's side began to impose their authority, but, having doubled the advantage through substitute Georgios Samaras, the champions by the finish were clearly in the ascendancy.
The fixture held the promise of excellence, but a roughed-up, generally sticky playing surface that too often hindered fluent movement of both players and ball was a significant factor in its more disappointing aspects. It was no surprise, for example, to see Aiden McGeady switch from the left to the right flank midway through the first half, basically in search of better ground.
The Celtic midfielder had clearly experienced difficulty in producing his usual level of skill and pace, and was frequently stopped in his runs by the Hibs right-back, Thierry Gathuessi. Losing McGeady's normal effectiveness amounts to a serious setback for a Celtic team who have been unconvincing in recent matches and, during that period before he switched, they should have been penalised for their overall mediocrity.
It was Hibs midfielder John Rankin who was given the opportunity, with a flick from Steven Fletcher that released him through the inside-right channel with only Artur Boruc between himself and the establishment of a lead. Rankin carried the ball to within 12 yards of the target before producing a weak finish, allowing the goalkeeper to save with his right foot. It was a poor attempt at a conversion but it was at least on target and, therefore, closer than anything Celtic contrived through the course of the entire first half.
The visitors' most promising move had involved a series of unexpectedly quick and accurate passes between McGeady, Scott McDonald and Shunsuke Nakamura, completed by the Japan midfielder's typically precise cross from the left to Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink beyond the far post. The big striker, almost predictably, sent the header into the outside of the net.
The Hibs players' willingness to press hard for possession whenever Celtic had the ball was the main reason for the champions' overall ineffectiveness before those second-half goals. Passes went astray as a result of haste, while the wind - at times gusting powerfully through the stadium - was another problem.
But, in the 10 minutes that preceded their taking the lead, Celtic had clearly improved sufficiently to have an edge, becoming more inventive and more aggressive. Scott Brown should have made a rewarding job of completing their first incisive move - McGeady to Vennegoor of Hesselink on the left, the cut-back to Brown, 10 yards out - instead of allowing Andy McNeil to block his drive.
The goal with which Celtic did take the lead was the more shocking to the home players and their fans because it seemed to come out of nowhere. The identity of the scorer, the left-back, probably took even the visiting fans by surprise.
Nakamura swung the ball from far right to far left to Naylor, who was allowed to run 50 yards to the edge of the Hibs area. Even he seemed not to trust his scoring prowess when he tried to slip the ball forward to McDonald. The pass was cut off by Chris Hogg, but the ball came straight back to Naylor, who quickly drove it right-footed low to the left of McNeil from 12 yards.
The scorer of the second could not have been predicted just three minutes before his strike, because he was not on the field. Samaras took the place of Vennegoor of Hesselink in time to confirm in the minds of the Celtic supporters that he could become something of a talisman.
Having scored with a header against Inverness on Wednesday, the big striker basically repeated the trick. Once again, the cross came from McGeady on the left and Samaras, almost nonchalantly, directed the ball far to the left of McNeil from about 10 yards.
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