Lee Johnson has been 'selling a dream' that Hibs can compete with Celtic and Rangers - and hopes his players are finally buying it.

The Easter Road manager secured his first victory over either of Glasgow's big two as his side defeated the Premiership champions 4-2. A manic second-half saw Celtic go 2-1 up, but a Daizen Maeda red card opened the door to goals from Kevin Nisbet, Paul Hanlon and a double from Elie Youan.

Barring a monumental upset by Inverness in beating Celtic to the Scottish Cup, Hibs are on course to compete in Europa Conference League qualifying next season.

And Johnson believes this result can be hugely significant for their mentality moving forward as Hibs prepare to round off the season against Hearts - who they can still pip to fourth - on Saturday.

"It was a fantastic win and a big three points against a top team," he said. "The fans deserved that and it was nice to send them home happy. We have now set ourselves up for a shootout against Hearts on Saturday.

"We had chances in the first half and then executed the system fantastically in the second half. That wasn't a smash and grab win. We went toe to toe with the champions.

"We have had some good performances but that was right up there, considering the quality of the opposition. I am really proud of the players. They were fantastic.

"I've banged on about getting points off the Old Firm and this club deserves to be competitive in these games.

READ MORE: Ange Postecoglou shoulders Celtic blame as he reacts to Maeda and Bain incidents

"I feel like we have been selling this dream and we have to have belief - and it has to build. Our next step is to secure Europe and we have that chance on Saturday."

Moments after Maeda saw red, Jake Doyle-Hayes was also ordered off for a tackle from behind on Oh Hyeon-Gyu - a decision referee Kevin Clancy reversed after a trip to the pitchside video monitor.

Johnson believes the right call was made in the end.

"I can understand why the referee gave the red card," he said. "It looked like Doyle-Hayes had studded him on the ankle but it was just one of those professional fouls in the middle of the pitch that's a definite yellow but I think the way the Celtic player's leg collapsed made it look worse than it was."

Johnson lost CJ Egan-Riley and Joe Newell to injury in the second-half, and provided a mixed update on the pair's fitness.

"CJ is struggling," the manager said. "It looks like he's done his hamstring. Joe Newell is looking more likely to be available; it was two contacts on the shin."