HIBERNIAN held Celtic to a goalless draw at Easter Road, with the leggy champions miles from their best for the most part after their midweek Champions League exertions.

Martin Boyle should have scored for the hosts, while James Forrest rattled the crossbar for the visitors, but a point apiece was probably about right in the end.

Here are the talking points from Leith…


The opening 45 minutes of this game felt like one of those Sunday lunchtime kick-offs that never quite get going. The football was flat, so too subsequently was the atmosphere, with passes going astray and nothing much happening for either side in an attacking sense.

Celtic at least had the excuse of the energy they expended in that pulsating draw with Atletico Madrid on Wednesday night, which made it a little surprising that manager Brendan Rodgers made just the one enforced change, with Paulo Bernardo replacing Reo Hatate just as he had done in the seventh minute of that game.

Their lethargy continued into the second half, with Liam Scales and Cameron Carter-Vickers both passing the ball directly out the park under no pressure in quick succession.

Hibs smelled blood, and more slack play from Celtic saw Matt O’Riley of all people play a loose pass into his own area to present the hosts with an opportunity that was spurned.

Rodgers had seen enough, and used up his remaining four substitutions by the hour mark as he tried to shake some life into his team, with even the lesser-spotted Mikey Johnston getting a run out.

Eventually, they started to assert some pressure on the Hibs box, with Forrest rattling the crossbar from close range and Hibs being forced into some heroic last-ditch defending.

But the fact that Rodgers didn’t trust his squad players enough to start this match might hint that he feels there is a lack of real quality on the fringes of this Celtic team.


One can imagine Nick Montgomery cutting a Mike Bassett-esque figure as he proclaimed in the Hibernian dressing room on the morning of this game that his side would be playing 4-4-f******-2.

The Hibs manager made some changes to his personnel from the hammering at Ibrox last week, with Rocky Bushiri coming in for Paul Hanlon and Jair Tavares coming in for Adam Le Fondre, but the shape and the intent remained the same. He was sticking to his guns.

It almost backfired on a few occasions though. If we’re being polite, some of the Hibs players are clearly still getting used to their new manager’s approach, and slack passing out saw Jimmy Jeggo slip and present a chance to Callum McGregor. David Marshall saved their blushes.

When it came off though, you could see the value in what Montgomery is trying to do. A pass from Marshall out to Jordan Obita allowed the full-back the space to whip a beautiful ball into the area that evaded Scales and landed perfectly for Boyle as he steamed into the six-yard box.

The attacker opened up his foot just a little too much though, and managed to scoop the ball high and wide of goal when it looked easier to score.


The Canadian full back’s head is probably still wobbling after he took a clearance from Rocky Bushiri flush in his face from all of a couple of yards during the first half. He went down like a sack of spuds, and remained there for several minutes as he received attention from the medical staff.

It was somewhat surprising when he groggily stepped back onto the pitch in an attempt to continue, and sure enough, just a few minutes later he went to ground once more and Anthony Ralston was sent on in his stead as he staggered off.

If it is a concussion, questions will be raised over just why he was allowed to continue, but at least Ralston is on hand as an able deputy.


It is perhaps harsh to single any one Celtic player out for criticism on a day when so many of them were below par, but Palma was particularly wasteful on the ball, with nothing coming off for the Honduran whatsoever.

He does of course have a little credit in the bank after a largely impressive start to his Celtic career, not least because of his brilliantly taken goal against Atletico during the week.

He was a long, long way from those levels here though, and it was no surprise to see him hooked just after the hour for Johnston.


Not quite. In fairness to the winger, his only real action of late has come in the colours of his country, with the 24-year-old making a decent impact in his first few appearances for the Republic of Ireland.

He almost got the breakthrough here as he ghosted inside and played a one-two that allowed him to get a shot away towards the top corner, but Marshall clawed it out to deny him.

That was about as good as it got for him though, with veteran Forrest making the greater impact from the other wing.