Saturday 18 November 2017

Stokes strikes as second-half blitz takes Hoops through

Hibernian 1, Celtic 4, Ronnie Esplin

ANTHONY STOKES was among the scorers for Celtic as they saw off Hibernian with a dominant second-half display in their Scottish Communities League Cup quarter-final clash at Easter Road.

It was not all plain sailing for the Hoops, however, as an own goal from defender Daniel Majstorovic had them trailing early on and struggling for a breakthrough of their own.

Thomas Rogne made his first appearance of the season for Celtic, the Norway U-21 defender coming in for injured Glenn Loovens, while Majstorovic replaced Charlie Mulgrew, who was also injured.

Mark Wilson was Celtic's captain for the night in the absence of Mulgrew but eyes were on the centre-back pairing of Rogne and Majstorovic.

And Majstorovic's own goal handed Hibs the lead after just four minutes. Ivan Sproule fired a shot across the goalmouth after Celtic had failed to clear a corner and the ball came off the big Swede and into the net.

Stokes hit the outside of the post as the visitors fought back, but Hoops goalkeeper Fraser Forster made a great save from Leigh Griffiths just before the break.

Grateful

Celtic may have gone into the dressing-room grateful to Forster for keeping the score at 1-0 but less than two minutes had been played in the second half when James Forrest levelled.

As the Parkhead men pressed forward, the Scotland international took a pass from Gary Hooper at the edge of the box and skilfully turned Hibs defender Paul Hanlon before sending a wonderful drive past Mark Brown and into the far corner.

The momentum had shifted firmly in favour of the visitors and in the 58th minute Forrest drove towards the Hibs box from the right. He evaded some weak attempts to tackle and worked a one-two with Stokes before driving in low past Brown to make it 2-1 to Celtic.

Stokes was next on the mark, thudding a header unchallenged past Brown from Ki's corner kick.

In the 69th minute, with the Hibs defence gone missing, Adam Matthews sent Hooper racing through on goal unhindered and he calmly guided the ball low past Brown to seal the win.

Two minutes later, Sproule -- booked earlier after a tussle with Beram Kayal -- was shown a second yellow by referee Willie Collum for a foul on Forrest.

It was a case of damage limitation for Hibs, who in the end were glad the margin of defeat was not greater.

Irish Independent

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