Celtic show ‘mentality of champions’ to edge out Hibs

8 February 2024 0 By Total Football News

Adam Idah scored two penalties on his first start for CelticAdam Idah scored two penalties on his first start for Celtic

Celtic showed “the mentality of champions”, said manager Brendan Rodgers, as they snatched a dramatic victory over Hibernian to restore their three-point lead at the Scottish Premiership summit.

On-loan Norwich striker Adam Idah, making his first start, completed his penalty double with a 92nd-minute winner at Easter Road.

Idah opened the scoring inside 10 minutes on his first start after Nectarios Triantis clashed heads with Alistair Johnston to concede his second spot-kick in as many games.

However, as has so often been the case this season, it appeared Celtic’s profligacy would cost them as Dylan Levitt spectacularly hauled the home side level with a sensational strike from the edge of the box.

But Idah was again given the opportunity from the penalty spot – against the run of play – as Kyogo Furuhashi was judged to have been fouled by Joe Newell inside the box after VAR intervention.

Nick Montgomery’s side threw everything they could at Celtic late on, but ultimately remain in seventh spot and their winless run extends to seven games.

Celtic manager Rodgers celebrated a first win at Easter Road at the fifth attempt as his side regained their gap over Rangers, who have a game in hand.

“Winning was never going make us champions tonight, but with 14 games to go, including tonight, it’s very important you get the victories,” he told BBC Scotland.

“We have to be more creative and that will be our demand going into the next game.”

Rodgers batted away any suggestion pre-match there has been a change in style since he took charge for a second time, instead highlighting the different “level of player” at his disposal.

The visitors’ speedy and slick start was synonymous with the version of Celtic the Northern Irishman insists is still in action. They had the hosts camped into their own box and overpowered in the early stages – the opener never felt far away.

After a debut to forget on Saturday, Hibs’ Triantis experienced more misery after nastily colliding with Johnston in the aftermath of a corner.

The Canada international could not continue and departed on a stretcher as Idah coolly rewarded his manager’s faith in him. He could have had another from a wonderful delivery by Johnston’s replacement, Anthony Ralston, but his first touch just let him down.

It appeared that was also the case for Hibs forward Elie Youan as he ballooned a glorious opportunity high into the Leith sky, but replays showed a brilliant block from Liam Scales.

It took until the 59th minute for Hibs to register their first shot on target, but what a way to do so as Levitt magnificently drilled his side level with a stunning strike.

The champions were on the ropes and rattled, with substitute Myziane Maolida causing havoc. His audacious overhead kick called Joe Hart into a punch before Martin Boyle hit the deck in search of his own penalty, while Lewis Miller’s later effort skimmed inches wide.

It seemed there would only be one winner. But then substitute Kyogo had his say. The Japan international nipped in front of the otherwise impressive Newell to earn his side a second penalty.

Idah, 22, went the other way to his first spot-kick, but the result was the same and he earned Celtic a potentially priceless win.

Player of the match – Alexandro Bernabei (Celtic)

Alexandro Bernabei and Martin BoyleHe didn’t score two penalties and he may have lost possession on a few occasions, but the left-back competed and won the most duels, enjoyed a mountain of dribbling up and down the wing and put in an all-round tireless performance.

Lack of confidence stark in both sides – analysis

Three points are ultimately all that matter, especially given Rangers are breathing down their neck, but this was another worrying Celtic performance.

As was the case in Saturday’s draw at Aberdeen, the game should have been killed off early doors. There should have been no need for all the drama that ensued.

But there is a lack of confidence and creativity in the forward area, and that’s even with a different frontline than the one that ran out at Pittodrie.

In a similar position of lacking confidence, a more comfortable team would have punished Rodgers’ spooked side when the equaliser was scored. Hibs were very much on the up.

Kyogo’s omission caught the eye but when he came on even he looked a shadow of his former self, squandering a cracking chance before winning the second penalty.

However, in title races, these are the moments and games that are potentially looked back on. The gritty and grinded wins against the grain.

The talk will all be about Celtic’s steel in picking up the win, but credit must be given to Hibs. For large parts of the second half they were by far the better side. That’s what will pain the manager, players and fans. It was well within their grasp to win.

The return of Australia internationals Lewis Miller and Martin Boyle was noticeable and will no doubt be a big boost as Hibs look to end this wretched run they are on.

What they said

Hibernian head coach Nick Montgomery: “It’s hard to explain, but I am really proud of the boys’ effort. I thought we were outstanding tonight and it’s really unfortunate. We were the better team and we deserved to win, but it wasn’t meant to be.

“I cannot fault their commitment or desire, I’m just really disappointed for the boys.”

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers: “First half we had control, but in the second half we didn’t play great. Hibs deserve credit, they pressed on to the game. We will play better. We have to play better.”

What’s next?

Attention turns to the Scottish Cup for both sides. Hibernian head north to take on Scottish Championship side Inverness Caledonian Thistle on Saturday (15:00) while Celtic travel to St Mirren on Sunday (14:00).



Formation 4-1-4-1

  • 1Marshall
  • 2Miller
  • 5FishBooked at 51mins
  • 23Triantis
  • 21Obita
  • 11NewellBooked at 90mins
  • 10BoyleBooked at 62mins
  • 30Moriah-WelshBooked at 45mins
  • 6LevittSubstituted forAmosat 68′minutes
  • 7YouanSubstituted forda Veiga Vieira Tavaresat 90+3′minutes
  • 9VenteSubstituted forMaolidaat 59′minutes


  • 13Wollacott
  • 14Mayenda
  • 15Amos
  • 16Stevenson
  • 17Maolida
  • 19Le Fondre
  • 29da Veiga Vieira Tavares
  • 35Molotnikov
  • 42Megwa


Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Hart
  • 2JohnstonSubstituted forRalstonat 9′minutes
  • 57WelshBooked at 59minsSubstituted forNawrockiat 66′minutes
  • 5Scales
  • 25BernabéiBooked at 78mins
  • 33O’Riley
  • 42McGregor
  • 28Gonçalves BernardoSubstituted forFuruhashiat 71′minutes
  • 10KühnSubstituted forAbadaat 65′minutes
  • 9Idah
  • 38MaedaSubstituted forPalmaat 72′minutes


  • 7Palma
  • 8Furuhashi
  • 11Abada
  • 15Holm
  • 17Nawrocki
  • 29Bain
  • 39Vata
  • 48Kelly
  • 56Ralston
Nick Walsh

Match Stats

Live Text

Match ends, Hibernian 1, Celtic 2.

Second Half ends, Hibernian 1, Celtic 2.