Hiber­nian hum­bling hands Celtic chance to win ti­tle against Rangers

The Irish Times - Monday - Sport - - Soccer -

Celtic winger James For­rest is rel­ish­ing the chance to clinch the Pre­mier­ship ti­tle against Rangers next week af­ter Satur­day’s hum­bling by Hiber­nian.

Celtic were set to cel­e­brate their sev­enth suc­ces­sive league tri­umph at Easter Road, but the home side went off-script with a scin­til­lat­ing per­for­mance. James Maclaren and sub­sti­tute Vyk­in­tas Slivka gave Neil Len­non’s side a two-goal lead be­fore sub­sti­tute Od­sonne Edouard scored a con­so­la­tion goal with four min­utes re­main­ing.

There are four fix­tures to go and Rangers, who beat Hearts 2-1 at Ibrox to go within 10 points of Bren­dan Rodgers’ side, are the vis­i­tors to Celtic Park next Sun­day, with For­rest hop­ing to seal the ti­tle in front of a sell-out crowd.

The Scot­land at­tacker said: “Hibs played well and we ob­vi­ously didn’t play as well as we can, so we need to give credit to Hibs and look for­ward to next week and hope­fully win it then.

“We have four games left and want to wrap the ti­tle up as soon as we can – but it wasn’t to be against Hibs.

“Af­ter the sea­son we’ve had, we need to be pos­i­tive. This de­feat is gone now and it would be tremen­dous to now go and do it in front of our own fans and give them some­thing to cheer about.”

For­rest noted that Hibs had drawn 2-2 twice with Celtic and nar­rowly lost 1-0 in the pre­vi­ous three league games, in ad­di­tion to los­ing 4-2 to Celtic in the League Cup semi-fi­nal.

The Easter Road side re­main in fourth place, three points be­hind Rangers and Aberdeen.

Hibs boss Neil Len­non, who won the first three of the cur­rent six ti­tles when he was man­ager at Celtic, be­lieves his side have been all but ig­nored in the race for sec­ond spot.

He said: “We have been largely un­der the radar. We are in a good vein of form and we needed to be against Celtic.” Han­lon,Steven­son,Boyle,McGeouch,McGinn, Swan­son(Barker64),Maclaren(Slivka73), Kam­beri.Sub­sNotUsed:Bell,Mur­ray, Por­te­ous,Stir­ling,LewisAl­lan.Booked: McGinn,Kam­beri. Brown,Ntcham(Sin­clair46),For­rest(Roberts 70),Rogic,McGre­gor,Grif­fiths(Edouard65). Sub­sNotUsed:Mu­sonda,Simunovic,Bain, Eboue.Booked:Tier­ney,Brown.

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