Celtic sent their fans into title party mood with an emphatic victory over Hibernian that stretches their SPL lead to 17 points over holders Rangers.

Anthony Stokes' 14th-minute close-range header and Gary Hooper's drive six minutes later put Celtic in control.

Lewis Stephenson, David Wotherspoon and Isaiah Osbourne passed up chances for Hibs before the break.

But Charlie Mulgrew curled in a free-kick, Hooper fired his second and Ki Sung-Yueng deflected in another.

The victory stretches Celtic's run of domestic victories to 18 on a weekend when city rivals Rangers lost 1-0 to Kilmarnock in their first fixture since being docked 10 points by the Scottish Premier League for going into administration.

Hibs not only suffered a blow to their confidence but a reduction in their advantage over Dunfermline Athletic in terms of goal difference, although Pat Fenlon's side remain second bottom with a game in hand.

Not even the return of striker Leigh Griffiths and defenders Paul Hanlon and James McPake from suspension, replacing Sean O'Hanlon, George Francomb and Garry O'Connor, could help counter Celtic's feelgood factor.

Thomas Rogne recovered from injury to return for Celtic in place of Daniel Majstorovic, despite the Swede's successful appeal against a red card shown last weekend.

Hooper scored the second goal for Celtic against Hibs

Hooper scored the second goal for Celtic against Hibs

Georgios Samaras dropped out to make way for Stokes to partner Gary Hooper and Celtic's top scorers came close to breaking the deadlock within a minute.

Stokes' low cross was backheeled towards goal by Hooper from six yards and, despite the effort taking a deflection off a defender, goalkeeper Graham Stack managed to change direction and scoop the ball off the line with his foot.

The home side, bolstered by five January signings, survived two early corners and started to apply pressure at the other end with a confidence that belied their league position.

However, the defensive frailty inherited by Fenlon surfaced again when neither defender nor goalkeeper came to meet Mulgrew's wicked inswinging cross and Stokes rose to head powerfully down and over the line.

Hibs continued to look lively, but they fell further behind following an incisive break.

Stokes strode towards his former club's defence before taking three Hibs defenders out the game with his pass through to an unmarked Hooper, who fired low between Stack's despairing legs from 12 yards.

Hibs soon were handed a great opportunity to pull a goal back when Adam Matthews dallied on the ball, was dispossessed by Stephenson, but the midfielder appeared to be caught in two minds between a chip and a drive and simply lifted it straight into the arms of goalkeeper Fraser Forster.

Wotherspoon failed to connect properly with a low ball flashed across the face of the Celtic goal by Osbourne, who himself headed wide when it was immediately returned into the box.

Referee Craig Thomson waved away claims for a penalty when Stokes went down under a McPake challenge, while Joe Ledley flashed a piledriver over from 22 yards and Scott Brown stung Stack's hands with a drive of his own from a similar distance.

Celtic were now well on top and Hibs suffered a further blow when defender Matt Doherty was left with a gashed eye after being struck by Stokes' flailing elbow.

Doherty did not emerge for the second half, being replaced with George Francomb, and the reorganised defence had no time to settle before Hibs went three behind two minutes after the break from Mulgrew's curling free-kick into the far corner from 22 yards.

Stack prevented another, blocking from Stokes after a clever Hooper backheel, but was at fault when the latter's speculative low drive from a difficult angle bounced over his outstretched arms and into the far corner after 52 minutes.

Griffiths poked an O'Connor cross over from close range and the latter curled a free-kick just over as Celtic appeared to ease off.

However, the visitors even had luck on their side when Kris Commons' low drive deflected off fellow substitute Ki past Stack 13 minutes from time before a Ledley header struck the underside of the bar and bounced clear.

Lineup, Bookings (3) & Substitutions (6)

Hibernian

  • 01 Stack
  • 02 Doherty (Francomb - 46' )
  • 04 Hanlon
  • 15 McPake
  • 19 Kujabi
  • 07 Wotherspoon
  • 08 Claros
  • 16 Stevenson Booked
  • 24 Osbourne
  • 10 Doyle (O'Connor - 51' )
  • 28 Griffiths Booked (O'Donovan - 73' )

Substitutes

  • 31 Brown
  • 05 O'Hanlon
  • 22 Francomb
  • 14 Scott
  • 17 Sproule
  • 09 O'Connor
  • 18 O'Donovan

Celtic

  • 01 Forster
  • 06 Wilson
  • 21 Mulgrew
  • 25 Rogne (Izaguirre - 71' )
  • 02 Matthews
  • 08 Brown Booked
  • 16 Ledley
  • 67 Wanyama (Ki Sung-Yeung - 55' )
  • 10 Stokes
  • 49 Forrest
  • 88 Hooper (Commons - 61' )

Substitutes

  • 24 Zaluska
  • 03 Izaguirre
  • 05 Majstorovic
  • 18 Ki Sung-Yeung
  • 09 Samaras
  • 15 Commons
  • 17 Brozek
Ref: Craig Thomson
Att: 12,161

Match Stats

Shots

9 12

On target

1 9

Corners

4 5

Fouls

10 12

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +2:13 Full time

Full Time The final whistle goes and the game is over.

90:00 +0:10

Charlie Mulgrew concedes a free kick for a foul on Roy O'Donovan. Indirect free kick taken by Pa Saikou Kujabi.

89:49

Sung-Yeung Ki gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Garry O'Connor. Garry O'Connor takes the free kick.

86:38

Jorge Claros produces a right-footed shot from just outside the box that misses to the right of the net.

86:18

Corner taken by George Francomb, clearance made by Kelvin Wilson.

80:14

Corner from the left by-line taken by Sung-Yeung Ki, Joe Ledley takes a shot.

79:21

The ball is crossed by Kris Commons, Anthony Stokes takes a shot. Save by Graham Stack.

78:12

Charlie Mulgrew restarts play with the free kick.

78:12 Booking

Booking Booking for Lewis Stevenson for unsporting behaviour.

78:07

Lewis Stevenson concedes a free kick for a foul on Scott Brown.

76:14

Assist by Kris Commons.

76:14 Goal scored

Goal! - Sung-Yeung Ki - Hibernian 0 - 5 Celtic Sung-Yeung Ki fires in a goal from inside the penalty box low into the middle of the goal. Hibernian 0-5 Celtic.

73:29

Shot on goal comes in from Garry O'Connor from the free kick.

73:29 Booking

Booking Scott Brown receives a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.

73:21

Pa Saikou Kujabi fouled by Scott Brown, the ref awards a free kick.

72:06

Isaiah Osbourne restarts play with the free kick.

72:06 Substitution

Substitution Roy O'Donovan joins the action as a substitute, replacing Leigh Griffiths.

72:06

Foul by Scott Brown on Isaiah Osbourne, free kick awarded.

71:12

Garry O'Connor crosses the ball, Leigh Griffiths takes a shot. Save by Fraser Forster.

70:14 Substitution

Substitution Emilio Izaguirre replaces Thomas Rogne.

69:04

Isaiah Osbourne produces a cross.

67:21

The assistant referee signals for offside against George Francomb. Fraser Forster takes the free kick.

63:55

Right-footed shot by Anthony Stokes went wide right of the net.

62:58

Charlie Mulgrew takes the inswinging corner, clearance by Lewis Stevenson.

61:41

Pa Saikou Kujabi takes the inswinging corner, Effort from the edge of the penalty box by James McPake goes wide of the right-hand upright.

60:02 Substitution

Substitution (Celtic) makes a substitution, with Kris Commons coming on for Gary Hooper.

59:36

The ball is sent over by George Francomb, save by Fraser Forster.

58:19

The official flags Garry O'Connor offside. Free kick taken by Fraser Forster.

54:03 Substitution

Substitution (Celtic) makes a substitution, with Sung-Yeung Ki coming on for Victor Wanyama.

53:33

Corner taken left-footed by Pa Saikou Kujabi, Charlie Mulgrew manages to make a clearance.

53:16

The ball is crossed by Leigh Griffiths, clearance made by Thomas Rogne.

52:47

Free kick awarded for a foul by Scott Brown on Lewis Stevenson. Pa Saikou Kujabi crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed from left wing.

51:41 Goal scored

Goal! - Gary Hooper - Hibernian 0 - 4 Celtic Goal scored by Gary Hooper from the edge of the area to the bottom right corner of the goal. Hibernian 0-4 Celtic.

50:52 Substitution

Substitution Eoin Doyle leaves the field to be replaced by Garry O'Connor.

48:33

Anthony Stokes takes a shot from 12 yards. Save made by Graham Stack.

46:07

Assist by Gary Hooper.

46:07 Goal scored

Goal! - Charlie Mulgrew - Hibernian 0 - 3 Celtic Charlie Mulgrew grabs a goal direct from the free kick from just outside the area to the top left corner of the goal. Hibernian 0-3 Celtic.

45:24

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Gary Hooper by Paul Hanlon.

45:03 Substitution

Substitution George Francomb joins the action as a substitute, replacing Matt Doherty.

45:01

The referee blows his whistle to start the second half.

45:00 +2:06 Half time

Half Time The first half comes to an end.

45:00 +0:50

Unfair challenge on Isaiah Osbourne by Victor Wanyama results in a free kick. Leigh Griffiths takes the direct free kick, Centre by David Wotherspoon, clearance by Scott Brown.

38:08

Scott Brown takes a shot. Save by Graham Stack.

37:24

Effort on goal by Joe Ledley from long range goes harmlessly over the bar.

34:47

Isaiah Osbourne challenges Scott Brown unfairly and gives away a free kick. Adam Matthews takes the indirect free kick.

34:04

Fraser Forster takes the free kick.

34:04 Booking

Booking The referee shows Leigh Griffiths a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.

33:54

Leigh Griffiths gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Scott Brown.

33:08

The referee blows for offside. Graham Stack takes the indirect free kick.

31:33

Foul by Isaiah Osbourne on Victor Wanyama, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Scott Brown.

30:36

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on James McPake by Scott Brown. Indirect free kick taken by Graham Stack.

29:53

Centre by Leigh Griffiths, Headed effort from inside the area by Isaiah Osbourne misses to the left of the target.

29:35

Isaiah Osbourne delivers the ball, Eoin Doyle takes a shot.

23:46

The ball is delivered by Charlie Mulgrew, save made by Graham Stack.

23:13

Anthony Stokes fouled by Paul Hanlon, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Charlie Mulgrew.

22:56

Shot by Lewis Stevenson. Save by Fraser Forster.

19:57

The assist for the goal came from Anthony Stokes.

19:57 Goal scored

Goal! - Gary Hooper - Hibernian 0 - 2 Celtic A goal is scored by Gary Hooper from deep inside the penalty box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Hibernian 0-2 Celtic.

18:50

Unfair challenge on Leigh Griffiths by Joe Ledley results in a free kick. David Wotherspoon takes the free kick.

16:10

Unfair challenge on Eoin Doyle by Thomas Rogne results in a free kick. Leigh Griffiths has a direct shot on goal from the free kick.

15:33

Victor Wanyama gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Isaiah Osbourne. Graham Stack restarts play with the free kick.

14:31

Jorge Claros concedes a free kick for a foul on Scott Brown. Fraser Forster takes the indirect free kick.

13:21

Assist by Charlie Mulgrew.

13:21 Goal scored

Goal! - Anthony Stokes - Hibernian 0 - 1 Celtic Anthony Stokes finds the net with a headed goal from close range. Hibernian 0-1 Celtic.

12:47

Corner taken left-footed by Charlie Mulgrew,

12:05

Unfair challenge on Gary Hooper by Jorge Claros results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Charlie Mulgrew.

10:53

Unfair challenge on Jorge Claros by Scott Brown results in a free kick. David Wotherspoon takes the indirect free kick.

10:08

Long range effort by Leigh Griffiths goes wide right of the net.

8:20

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Charlie Mulgrew by David Wotherspoon. Fraser Forster restarts play with the free kick.

5:47

Unfair challenge on Eoin Doyle by Thomas Rogne results in a free kick. Paul Hanlon takes the indirect free kick.

5:39

James Forrest crosses the ball.

2:54

Leigh Griffiths concedes a free kick for a foul on Charlie Mulgrew. Fraser Forster takes the indirect free kick.

2:01

Inswinging corner taken by David Wotherspoon, clearance made by Scott Brown.

0:54

Corner taken by Charlie Mulgrew played to the near post, clearance made by David Wotherspoon.

0:36

Corner from the left by-line taken by Charlie Mulgrew, David Wotherspoon makes a clearance.

0:15

The ball is sent over by Anthony Stokes, Gary Hooper takes a shot. Graham Stack makes a save.

0:00

The match begins.

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