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Last Updated: Saturday, 27 December, 2003, 16:49 GMT
Celtic hammer Hibs
Chris Sutton celebrates
Celtic were ruthless as they demolished 10-man Hibs
Celtic 6-0 Hibernian

Celtic exacted revenge for their recent CIS Insurance Cup defeat by mauling 10-man Hibs at Parkhead.

Chris Sutton and John Hartson each scored twice, while Henrik Larsson and Stilian Petrov also found the net.

The game had been a good contest until Hibs' Derek Riordan was sent off four minutes before half time.

But, with the extra man, the league leaders completely outclassed the visitors - who contributed to their own downfall with some dreadful defending.

Celtic scored with their first foray up the park when the Hibs defence parted meekly.

Hartson picked out Sutton with the simplest of passes and the big striker stroked the ball past Daniel Andersson from 15 yards.

The fans pay good money to watch an even contest - but they have been robbed of that
Hibs boss Bobby Williamson

Hibs were given a glimpse of goal after 10 minutes when Scott Brown surged forward from deep and found Garry O'Connor on the edge of the area.

But the striker was tackled by Johan Mjallby as he shaped to shoot and, when the ball was turned back into the danger area, Tom McManus was well off target with an acrobatic volley.

Larsson tugged a 20-yard shot wide, while Mjallby had to look sharp again to block a McManus effort as the game ebbed and flowed at a rate of knots.

Some robust tackles were flying in from both sides and referee Alan Freeland flashed four yellow cards inside the opening 25 minutes.

A powerful Sutton drive fizzed wide before Hibs retaliated again with Scotland keeper Rab Douglas getting his fingertips to a deflected drive from Riordan.

Riordan is shown red by referee Alan Freeland
Derek Riordan was sent off in the first half

Hibs full-back Steven Whittaker sent a powerful long-range shot over the crossbar before Sutton had the ball in the net again - but the Englishman had strayed offside.

Hartson shot straight at Andersson and Easter Road defender Matthias Doumbe made a great challenge to disposess Larsson as Celtic began to take a grip of the game.

Hibs' chances were dealt a massive blow when Riordan was shown a straight red card for a late lunge at Jackie McNamara after 41 minutes.

And the day got worse for the visitors three minutes later when Hartson was allowed to nod home a lofted Alan Thompson centre from six yards.

Hibs once again hit the self-destruct button after 53 minutes as Colin Murdock barged into Larsson when goalkeeper Andersson was comfortably gathering the ball.

The sending-off and the goal before half-time knocked a lot of heart out of them
Celtic boss Martin O'Neill

A penalty was awarded and Sutton added to Hibs' woes with a cheeky chip from the spot that drifted in under the crossbar.

Larsson headed straight at Andersson from six yards as Hibs caved in but the Swede redeemed himself on the hour to set up Hartson for the fourth goal.

Hibs contrived to gift the ball to Larsson and, as Doumbe tried his best to hack the striker down, he slipped the ball to his Welsh team-mate, who drilled a low shot into the corner.

Six minutes later Celtic extended their lead when substitute Liam Miller split the Hibs defence with a pass and Larsson ran on to slip the ball home.

And it was 6-0 in the 77th minute when Petrov found room in the penalty area.

His shot took a deflection off Doumbe to deceive the miserable Andersson and complete a 17th straight league win.

Celtic: Douglas, Varga (Miller 63), Balde (Wallace 69), Mjallby (Beattie 69), McNamara, Lennon, Petrov, Sutton, Thompson, Larsson, Hartson. Subs Not Used: Marshall, Smith.

Hibernian: Andersson, Smith, Murdock, Doumbe, Whittaker, Brown, Brebner, Thomson (Nicol 87), Riordan, O'Connor (Dobbie 63), McManus (Reid 84). Subs Not Used: Hyldgaard, Baillie.

Attendance: 59,609
Referee: A Freeland

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