Hibernian 0-4 Celtic: Scottish Premiership leaders win 12th straight match28 December 2022
Celtic will go into next week's "showcase" Glasgow derby on a run of 12 straight Scottish Premiership wins after thumping Hibernian at Easter Road.
Aaron Mooy drilled in his first Celtic goals either side of Daizen Maeda's wonderful strike, before Kyogo Furuhashi capped a thoroughly dominant performance.
Ange Postecoglou's side remain nine points clear of rivals Rangers, who they visit on Monday in a potentially pivotal second derby of the season.
"We know it's a significant game," he told BBC Scotland. "A significant game for our supporters and our league.
"It's a showcase game. They are second and we're first. There's all of those elements, but I can assure you we put in the same preparation for every game and we'll be ready for it.
"It's always tough but these are the games you want to be involved in and we're going in with some decent form."
After a couple of narrow wins on their return from the World Cup break, Postecoglou calmly laid down the gauntlet to his players after the win against Livingston, citing his frustration at their play in the final third.
But after putting four past St Johnstone at the weekend, they upped their levels again at Easter Road after a fast opening 10 minutes from Hibs.
Mooy arrowed a low shot past David Marshall after Maeda's cross was deflected into his path, and the Japanese winger missed an easy header before immediately responding with a stunning strike from 20 yards.
That summed up Celtic's relentlessness, and Greg Taylor's wonderful defence-splitting pass set Maeda free again just before the hour, and when Abada connected with his cross the ball flew off the hand of Hibs' Lewis Stevenson.
Mooy calmly rolled in the penalty for his second goal, and eight minutes later Reo Hatate - playing out of position at right-back - picked out Kyogo with a defence-splitting pass.
The league's top scorer stayed calm to take the ball inside Rocky Bushiri before finding the bottom corner for his 14th goal of the season.
Hibs started quickly and had Chris Cadden's second-minute goal ruled out for offside, as well as Paul Hanlon's effort off a post at 2-0, but they could not sustain any challenge as Celtic overwhelmed them for the second time this season.
Player of the match - Daizen MaedaMaeda caused Hibs problems down the left flank, setting up the first goal before scoring a fantastic second. His work rate was outstanding as usual, too.
Relentless Celtic lay down gauntlet - analysis
Celtic's slow start to the season's resumption - by their own standards - offered a sense of hope for the rest of the league. But the last two performances show it was actually concerning that no side could catch them out when not at their best.
They were utterly relentless at Easter Road after weathering a strong start from Hibs, with Maeda the catalyst for the glut of chances to follow as he set up the first goal before blasting in a second.
But arguably what was most impressive was their work-rate off the ball. The players have clearly responded to their manager's rallying cry, as their counter-pressing made life impossible for Hibs, who ended up desperately trying to stem wave after wave of attack.
Even at Ibrox, Celtic in this form will be favourites to win Monday's Old Firm derby. If they do, a 12-point lead will surely signal the title is staying in the east end of Glasgow.
As for Hibs, Lee Johnson asked for a stronger mentality from his side than they showed in the 6-1 defeat at Celtic Park. He certainly got it as they came out strongly, but ultimately succumbed to their visitors' quality.
Most teams in the top flight just don't have the quality on the ball needed to get through Celtic's press, and it proved the case once again.
Johnson still has many doubters to win over, but it would be harsh to be over-critical of this performance. What Hibs really need is a convincing display, and good result, at Tynecastle on Monday.
Anything less, and their current run of form will loom large once more.
What they said
Hibernian manager Lee Johnson: "We really took the game to Celtic in the first 15 minutes. The second 15 minutes, they owned, bossed it on the ball. That's my criticism. Could we have applied more pressure?
"Against a side of that quality, we're just not there yet. I'd like us to have been switched on more for a couple of the goals but we had chances and counter-attacked well."
Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou: "We had a feeling Hibs would come at us and the first 10 minutes was a real game. We just stayed really strong and eventually we wore them down.
"I think one part of this team that is underestimated is fitness. I think we're the fittest team in the competition. The players work hard every day and we want to bring that to every game."
Both sides face trips to face their city rivals on Monday, with Celtic at Ibrox to play Rangers (12:30) and later on Hibs face Edinburgh foes Hearts at Tynecastle (15:00).
Second Half ends, Hibernian 0, Celtic 4.
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