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Fenlon riding high as Hibs topple Celtic at Easter Road

The former Shelbourne and Bohemians boss has taken his side from relegation dodgers into the top four.

Pat Fenlon acknowledges the cheers of the home supporters.
Pat Fenlon acknowledges the cheers of the home supporters.
Image: Daniel Hambury/PA Wire

CELTIC’S LEAD AT the top of the Scottish Premier League has been cut to six points on after Leigh Griffiths’ early goal earned Hibernian a 1-0 win at Easter Road.

After an impressive start to the season Hibs had taken just one point out their previous four matches while the league leaders started the game looking for their sixth straight league win.

However, the home side started brightly and took just nine minutes to open the scoring when Griffiths, who could return to parent club Wolves in January, took advantage of some slack defending to latch on to a long ball and finish low past Fraser Forster.

Eoin Doyle should have done better with a header from a Griffiths cross and then blazed over just before the break as Hibs bossed the first half.

The Hoops upped the pace after the interval and Victor Wanyama came close before Efe Ambrose blew a great chance for an equaliser when he somehow scooped his effort over the bar from a couple of yards out.

Hibs keeper Ben Williams then made a superb save to deny a fierce Gary Hooper strike.

The home side were appealing for a penalty on the hour mark after Doyle went down in the box under a challenge from Emilio Izaguirre but referee Craig Thomson waved away their protests.

Victor Wanyama sent a screamer inches over before substitute Paddy McCourt tested Williams with a low drive from out on the right as the Hoops pressed forward.

Celtic should have had an equaliser in the 82nd minute when the ball landed to Ambrose a couple of yards out from goal.

The Nigerian defender somehow kneed the ball over the bar when it looked easier to score and Hibs earned their first league win since 11 November.

Caley edge closer

Celtic’s closest rivals failed to take real advantage as second-placed Inverness could only manage a goalless draw against St Johnstone while Motherwell drew 2-2 with Kilmarnock.

The win sees Hibs climb to fourth in the SPL table and demonstrates a marked improvement on last season as they battled against relegation all season.

Speaking to the BBC after the 1-0 win Fenlon said, “I thought we were magnificent today, from start to finish, and I thought we deserved to win.

“I know Celtic put us under a lot of pressure in the second-half but we probably had the better chances in the game.

He added, “Our two centre-halves were a different class and our goalkeeper, behind them too. Although he didn’t have a lot to do, he did it well.”

Additional reporting © AFP, 2012

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Patrick McCarry

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