Hibernian 1-0 Celtic: Early Griffiths strike hands host victory

The on-loan Wolves striker helps the Easter Road side go into the New Year in positive fashion as they hand Celtic their first defeat in six games
An early strike from Leigh Griffiths and a heroic performance from keeper Ben Williams helped Hibernian claim victory against league leaders Celtic.

The Parkhead side had been looking to continue their impressive form, which had seen Neil Lennon’s side concede only one goal in their five previous league fixtures.

The home side made two changes from the side that lost at home to Ross County, with on-loan Manchester City defender Ryan McGivern and David Wotherspoon dropping out from the starting line-up to be replaced by Lewis Stevenson and Jorge Claros.

Celtic made three changes to their side that won at Dundee, with Charlie Mulgrew, Beram Kayal and Tony Watt all out of the side and Thomas Rogne, Mikael Lustig and Lassad Niouoi coming in.

The game started at a frantic pace, with Hibernian willing to go forward and they were rewarded when Griffiths snuck in-between both Rogne and Fraser Forster, rounding the goalkeeper, before finding the net from a tight angle.

Celtic then had two golden opportunities to level the game, with both Georgios Samaras and Gary Hooper having strikes at the Hibernian goal, but on both occasions the attacking Hoops pair found themselves given offside.

Pat Fenlon’s side then almost doubled their lead, as Eoin Doyle tried his luck with a long range strike which Forster managed to save and the English keeper was helped out by the assistant referee as he waved Griffiths offside as he attempted to get to the rebound.

The league leaders started to gain control of the game, having the possession advantage, but they couldn’t turn that into chances and they were nearly caught on the break when Doyle had a strike which went over.

Lennon’s side started the second half on fire, with Scott Brown finding Lustig wide on the right hand side and his cross into the danger area was missed by both Samaras and Lassad, much to the relief of the Hibernian defence.

Despite being on the back foot for most of the game, Hibernian continued to create the better chances of the two sides, as Griffiths almost got his second of the game, but before the striker could finish, the ball was taken away from him.

Both sides continued to move end-to-end at breakneck speed, but there was no final delivery from either side, with Celtic failing to get either Samaras or Hooper into the game.

The visitors started to crank up the pressure on the Edinburgh side, with Victor Wanyama substitutes Kayal and Paddy McCourt trying their luck with strikes, but none of them could find a way past Williams to get Celtic level.

Celtic’s pressure continued as both Efe Ambrose, then Hooper has chances to get the Parkhead side level, but Hibernian somehow managed to survive.

It was backs to walls for the remaining minutes for the hosts, but they managed to hang on to claim a famous victory before they head across the city to meet Hearts in the Edinburgh derby on Thursday.