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Dublin: 6 °C Friday 14 December, 2018

Late equaliser at Parkhead sees Celtic hit back to save unbeaten run

A brace from 24-year-old midfielder Callum McGregor earned Celtic a point against Hibs.

Callum McGregor celebrates his leveler against Hibernian on Saturday.
Callum McGregor celebrates his leveler against Hibernian on Saturday.
Image: Andrew Milligan

CALLUM MCGREGOR’S LATE equaliser rescued Celtic as they came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw with Hibernian on Saturday that maintained their long unbeaten record.

McGregor had fired Celtic into a 16th minute but a resurgent Hibs equalised just after the break thanks to a rocket from John McGinn at Parkhead.

Another smashing strike from McGinn had Hibs briefly in front in the 77th minute, but McGregor made sure it would be 58 domestic games without defeat for the Scottish champions as he equalised three minutes later.

Aberdeen’s 3-0 win over St Johnstone means Brendan Rodgers side only top the Scottish Premiership on goal difference from the Dons.

It was a superb performance by Hibs on former Hoops manager Neil Lennon’s return to Celtic to keep them just a point off Rangers in third, who won 4-1 away to Hamilton on Friday.

Celtic showed their strength in depth as they made five changes to the side that defeated Anderlecht in the Champions League in midweek, with last season’s top scorer Moussa Dembele partnering Odsonne Edouard up front for the first time.

However, it was Hibernian’s forward line that caused the most problems early on with Craig Gordon tipping over a curling free-kick from former Hoops striker Anthony Stokes.

Celtic soon found their rhythm with McGregor firing them ahead.

Dembele did well to hold the ball up before laying it off into the path of the winger, who took a touch before sending a low left-foot shot past Ross Laidlaw.

Scott Sinclair replaced Edouard at the break as Celtic switched to a back four.

The Hoops barely had time to adjust to the new formation when Hibs levelled in spectacular fashion.

Marvin Bartley laid the ball off to McGinn, who caught Gordon completely off guard as he thumped a sizzling strike low in to the bottom corner from 20 yards.

The visitors smelt blood and a minute later former Rangers player Steven Whittaker headed narrowly over the bar as he got on the end of a free-kick.

Hibs began to boss the game and only a superb double save from Gordon kept them from going in front as he stopped a Stokes header before making a point-blank save to deny Whittaker on the rebound.

The Easter Road side weren’t going to be denied for long and another cracker from McGinn gave them a deserved lead.

Stand-in skipper Mikel Lustig failed to deal with a long ball and McGinn latched on to it to blast a shot high into the net past Gordon.

But Celtic then showed why it has been over 500 days since they last tasted defeat domestically as McGregor hauled them level just over two minutes later with a low left foot strike.

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