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The BBC's Roddy Forsyth reports
"This was an exhibition performance from Celtic"
 real 28k

Saturday, 4 December, 1999, 17:59 GMT
Moravcik punishes sleepy Hibs


Celtic 4-0 Hibernian

Two goals from Lubomir Moravcik helped Celtic to a classy victory over Hibs at Parkhead.

The Slovakian veteran eased the pressure on coach John Barnes with a superb performance and proved that at 43, he remains an exceptional talent the club can ill afford to lose.

The Slovakian midfielder is out of contract at the end of the season and has hinted he will lack the fitness to manage another year, but Barnes will surely keep asking on this form.

Match facts
18 mins: Viduka slots home from the spot
29 mins: Moravcik finds the top left corner for his opener
58 mins: The Slovak adds his second
86 mins: Wieghorst chip beats Colgan
Mark Viduka put Celtic ahead from the penalty spot after 18 minutes, before man of the match Moravcik spun expertly just inside the area for an individual effort to savour.

That was on 29 minutes and after 58 minutes he had doubled his personal tally from close range after Viduka had presented him with an open goal at the far post.

An assured afternoon for Celtic was sealed in the 86th minute through Morten Wieghorst's audacious chip.

In the only Scottish Premier League game to survive the weather, Celtic now close the gap on leaders Rangers to a point albeit having played two games more - but it was at least a statement of intent.


I always look at performances rather than results. We missed a lot of chances and still scored four
John Barnes
Celtic controlled possession from the outset and it needed an important Shaun Dennis intervention after a weighted Berkovic pass had played Jackie McNamara in on the right.

The home team should have taken the lead in the 10th minute when Moravcik weaved his way into the area but instead of shooting he squared for Moravcik whose shot hit defender Dennis on the line.

Berkovic then sent a disappointing shot well over, while Viduka was himself denied by a one-handed save from Hibernian's Nicky Colgan when the striker tried to chip the advancing keeper.

Within a minute of that stop however Celtic were ahead as after Dennis was adjudged to have fouled Viduka inside the area, the Australian international picked himself up to score from the spot.


I did expect more from my players there's no doubt about that, but it's not about us being bad. I thought Celtic were tremendous
Alex McLeish
The crowd's reaction to the first goal seemed slightly muted, but the Parkhead faithful were out of their seats for Celtic's second, a stunning effort from Moravcik.

The Slovakian was fed the ball by Lambert and at once turned his marker John Hughes with a deft flick before firing the ball into the top corner of the net for a memorable strike.

McNamara, whose finishing rarely matches his build-up play, missed badly on 56 minutes, clipping his shot over Colgan, but straight at the covering Dennis.

A mere two minutes later however and Celtic were 3-0 ahead, Viduka scooping the ball out of Colgan's reach and offering Moravcik an open goal with a low diving header at the far post.

Celtic keeper Jonathan Gould was then forced into his first save of the afternoon after 69 minutes, but the match was already lost for Hibernian.

And when an astonishing chip from Wieghorst made it 4-0, Hibs could do little but wait for the nightmare to end.

Teams:

Celtic: Gould, Stubbs, Tebily, Mjallby, McNamara, Riseth, Berkovic, Lambert, Wieghorst, Viduka, Moravcik. Subs: Kerr, Petrov, Wright, Burchill, Petta.

Hibernian: Colgan, Collins, Hughes, Dennis, Jack, Smith, Brebner, Latapy, McGinlay, Paatelainen, Miller. Subs: Gottskalksson, Lehmann, Lovell, Hartley, Bottigliari.

Referee: Stuart Dougal (Scotland)
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Links to other Scottish Premier stories are at the foot of the page.