Hibernian 1-4 Celtic

By Annie McGuireBBC Sport Scotland
Highlights - Hibernian 1-4 Celtic

Celtic staged another dramatic comeback to dispose of Hibs and claim their place in the Scottish Communities League Cup semi-finals.

A Daniel Majstorovic own goal from an Ivan Sproule shot put the home side ahead at half time.

But a James Forrest double early in the second half reignited the tie.

Anthony Stokes headed home a third before Gary Hooper's strike ended Hibs' hope of a comeback, Ivan Sproule's red card adding to their misery.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon had again shuffled the pack in defence, with Thomas Rogne making his first appearance of the season, coming in for the injured Glenn Loovens while Daniel Majstorovic and Mark Wilson replaced Charlie Mulgrew and Victor Wanyama respectively.

Hibs made four changes, with goalkeeper Mark Brown resuming League Cup duties.

But it was the Celtic goal which was to be troubled first. David Wotherspoon gave an indication of Hibs' intentions early on when he volleyed a shot towards Forster's goal, Rogne doing just enough to guide the ball to safety.

Celtic failed to learn from that scare, and with just five minutes on the clock the home side took the lead from the corner flag. Last weekend's goal-hero Leigh Griffiths' ball in from the right was cleared off the line by Adam Matthews, but only as far as Sproule whose shot deflected off Majstorovic and into the net.

Seconds later the home side had the chance to land another sucker-punch on Neil Lennon's side. Junior Agogo chased down a long ball which Beram Kayal should have handled easily, but a mix-up in the Celtic defence left a stray ball inside the box, Forster controlling it at the second attempt.

Seemingly stunned to have conceded another early goal, Celtic failed to make an impact in the match in the opening 20 minutes. When their chances did come the visitors were frustrated by a lack of clinical finishing by their strike pairing of Stokes and Hooper.

Hooper could have done more when Beram Kayal delivered a cross into the box, the Englishman sliding into a shot which went wide of the post from a mere three yards.

Then Stokes had the chance to equalise: first from a free-kick 30 yards out when his powerful drive was a yard high and wide, then minutes later when his left-foot shot clipped the post and yet again when he headed over the crossbar from a corner kick on the half-hour mark.

Gary Hooper and Anthony Stokes
Strikers Hooper and Stokes were both on target after a frustrating first half

But Hibs also had their share of first-half chances, Forster coming under a barrage of chances as the half came to a close.

Sproule continued to look dangerous on the wing and, with 35 minutes gone, he powered down the left and cut inside before sending a shot just a yard over.

The transformation in the second half was to be dramatic.

Indeed there were shades of Celtic's when they emerged for the restart. A half-time talking-to seemed to bring new desire to the side, and again it was the 20-year-old Forrest who was the architect of the resurgence.

Ki Sung-Yueng's pass found Gary Hooper at the edge of the box, who played in the Scotland winger: Forrest dancing round Hibs defender Paul Hanlon, to create the space for a perfectly struck shot which flashed past Brown in the Hibs goal.

Twelve minutes later Forrest dug out another crucial goal as he drove towards the Hibs box from the right, then worked a one-two with Stokes before driving low past the Hibs keeper.

With half an hour remaining the floodgates appeared to have opened. Having misfired in the first half, Stokes was more clinical when Ki's corner found him unmarked in the box, the striker heading past a helpless Brown.

Then it was Hooper's chance to redeem himself for a poor first half, the Englishman judging his run to perfection from Matthews' long ball before taking a touch and deftly stroking the ball home to put Hibs into damage-limitation mode.

That wasn't helped when Sproule was sent off after fouling the uncontainable Forrest with 18 minutes remaining. From then on their contribution fizzled out, with Celtic happy to sit on an unexpected three-goal lead, and sail through to next week's semi-final draw.

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