In a match that was more about testing the depth of the squad than the result, Celtic fell to a 4-2 defeat against Hibernian at Easter Road. Despite having already secured the Scottish Premiership title, the Hoops have been unable to maintain their winning momentum, marking their third game without a victory since their triumphant outing at Tynecastle.
The atmosphere at the ground was subdued, with the Celtic faithful perhaps already looking ahead to the Scottish Cup final against Inverness. However, the match sparked into life with a series of key moments that ultimately decided the outcome.
Celtic’s Maeda, who had come on as a first-half sub, was sent off for two yellow cards which tipped the game in Hibs favour. The first booking seemed questionable, adding a layer of controversy to the match. His dismissal was a turning point, leaving Celtic with ten men and changing the dynamics of the game.
Adding to Celtic’s woes, goalkeeper Scott Bain had a moment to forget when he dropped the ball into his own net, allowing Hibernian to take a 3-2 lead. This error proved costly, shifting the momentum firmly in Hibernian’s favour.
Anthony Ralston also had a difficult day, with his decision to manhandle a Hibs player in the box leading to a penalty that Kevin Nisbet converted to level the scores at 2-2. This incident highlighted a lack of discipline that will need to be addressed ahead of the cup final.
The Celtic manager’s decision to field a number of fringe players was a clear indication of his intent to test the depth of his squad. However, the performance of these players left much to be desired, with many failing to seize the opportunity to impress. We have had a great first team effort this season who have delivered great success, but the guys underneath don’t look up to scratch.
Despite the defeat, the focus for Celtic now shifts to the Scottish Cup final against Inverness. The Hoops will be keen to return to winning ways and secure a domestic double to cap off what has been a largely successful season. The performance against Hibernian, however, serves as a reminder that there is still work to be done.