A vastly improved Hibs were cruelly denied a draw in stoppage time at Easter Road as Celtic scored their second penalty of the match to win 2-1.

Hibernian went into the game looking to bounce back from Saturday’s horror show defeat to St Mirren.

Head Coach Nick Montgomery made several changes from the weekend’s 3-0 loss, Martin Boyle and Lewis Miller went straight back into the team after returning from the Asia Cup.

Dylan Vente and new signing Nathan Moriah-Welsh were also brought in as Montgomery set his side up in a new formation.

It was a nightmare start for Hibs who conceded a penalty just five minutes into the game after a nasty clash of heads between Nectrios Triantis and Alistair Johnson.

Adam Idah faced a long wait before he could take it as the game stood still to allow Johnson to be stretchered off.

It didn’t faze the January signing though, he converted it, sending David Marshall the wrong way, scoring his first Celtic goal in the process.

Hibs’ first and only chance of the half fell to Elie Youan after a cross from Jordan Obita rebounded off Boyle and landed at the Frenchman’s feet.

His effort blazed over the bar, ricocheting off a Celtic defender for a corner when he really should have scored.

Celtic continued to dominate possession for the remainder of the half, but the Hibs defence stood firm and kept the visitors out.

Hibs came out from half-time and started brightly, threatening to break on a couple of occasions, and got their reward as they equalised with an hour on the clock.

The ball fell perfectly to Dylan Levitt on the edge of the box after a knockdown from Will Fish, and the Welshman finished superbly into the bottom corner on the half volley.

That goal ignited Hibs into life, and they almost scored again minutes later, but Joe Hart did well to keep out a superb acrobatic effort from substitute Myziane Maolida who was superb after coming on.

Hibs could – and probably should – have gone ahead with a couple of great chances in the last ten minutes.

Lewis Miller saw a brilliant opportunity flash wide after a teasing cross from the left and Will Fish’ nearly scored after a mix-up between three of his teammates in the Celtic box.

With minutes left in game the and just as Hibs looked like they were going to get their well-deserved point, the game stopped because of a VAR check on a potential Celtic penalty.

A Joe Newell challenge on Kyogo on the very edge of the box was deemed a foul, and the visitors were awarded their second penalty of the match.

Idah dispatched cooly again in front of the travelling away support, sending them wild in the process.

Montgomery was proud of his team’s performance, which was a stark contrast to Saturday’s game, frustratingly for him, however, it was two penalty kicks that separated the sides.

He said: “We didn’t deserve to lose the game, I thought we were more than worthy of three points tonight. I thought we had some great chances. Really proud of the boys’ effort.”

The decision to award Celtic their second penalty of the night was met with boos by the home support, Montgomery said: “But the second one, I’ve watched it once. Maybe it looks like it’s just outside the box. Joe (Newell) pulls out. Again, I just think that not one person or anybody in the stadium thought about asking for a penalty.”

Once the challenge was made, there was a lack of appeal from any Celtic players, despite this, VAR intervened, Montgomery said: “Somebody’s called the ref to have a look on VAR. That’s the most frustrating thing because I think if the ref had been called over a couple of other times, especially the Martin Boyle challenge, we would have had no option but to give a penalty. It’s just inconsistent on that.”

Next up for Hibs is a visit to Inverness Caley Thistle in the Scottish Cup on Saturday, kick off is at 3pm. 

Scottish Premiership – Hibernian FC v Celtic FC 07/02/2024 Celtic defender, Maik Nawrocki, clears the danger as Hibs’ forward, Martin Boyle, bears down as Hibernian take on Celtic in the Scottish Premiership at Easter Road Stadium Credit: Ian Jacobs
Scottish Premiership – Hibernian FC v Celtic FC 07/02/2024 Hibs’ midfielder, Dylan Levitt, fires home in the 60th minute to level the scoring at 1-1 as Hibernian take on Celtic in the Scottish Premiership at Easter Road Stadium, Credit: Ian Jacobs
Scottish Premiership – Hibernian FC v Celtic FC 07/02/2024 Hibs’ defender, Jordan Obita, gets away from Celtic forward, Nicolas Kühn, as Hibernian take on Celtic in the Scottish Premiership at Easter Road Stadium, Credit: Ian Jacobs
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Masters Student currently studying Sports Journalism at Edinburgh Napier University.