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Last Updated: Sunday, 26 November 2006, 15:55 GMT
Hibernian 2-2 Celtic
By Julian Taylor

Ivan Sproule
Ivan Sproule opened the scoring for Hibernian against Celtic
Hibernian and Celtic settled for a point apiece following a tension-filled encounter at Easter Road on Sunday.

Ivan Sproule slammed in a brilliant opener for Hibs in the 12th minute.

Captain Kevin Thomson then added a superb solo second after 63 minutes to put the home side firmly in command against Gordon Strachan's visitors.

However, the SPL champions showed great character to recover, with Evander Sno reducing the deficit and then Aiden McGeady levelling in the 74th minute.

Celtic made three changes from their Champions League win over Manchester United in midweek.

Strachan freshened up his side by drafting in striker Kenny Miller and midfielders Shaun Maloney and Jiri Jarosik.

Out went Sno, Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink and Thomas Gravesen, with the latter two not even making the bench.

Hibernian boss John Collins was forced into one change when striker Chris Killen failed a fitness test. The New Zealander was replaced by striker Abdessalam Benjelloun.

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The encounter lived up to its pre-match hype as the home side - and Scott Brown in particular - set about Celtic with vigour.

And it was no surprise when the home side took the lead in fantastic fashion.

Benjelloun took possession in the Hoops penalty area before the ball eventually broke to Northern Ireland international Sproule, who smashed the ball into the roof of the net beyond Artur Boruc.

Moroccan Benjelloun almost made it 2-0 in the 27th minute when he curled the ball just over after terrific link play between Brown and Kevin Thomson.

Miller had an opportunity to level against his former club but was denied by Zibby Malkowski.

The Polish goalkeeper then easily held a Maloney free-kick as Celtic struggled to impose any authority.

Evander Sno
Evander Sno pulls a goal back for Celtic at Easter Road

At the break, Strachan sent on Sno for the ineffective Maciej Zurawski.

But the Edinburgh club kept up their earlier momentum and doubled their advantage.

Thomson picked up Bobo Balde's headed clearance and, seizing his chance, darted past Sno before calmly sliding the ball under the advancing Boruc.

As the tempo increased so did Celtic's desire - and the Glasgow side hit back against the run of play.

Miller made a positive run down the left and eluded both David Murphy and Shelton Martis before cutting the ball back for Sno to drill home.

The visitors quickly added another when McGeady cut in from the left flank with the Hibs defence standing off, found the corner of the net with a precise right-foot shot.

With the pendulum having swung the way of Celtic, Malkowski made a smart save at Miller's feet after McGeady launched a counter-attack.

Hibees substitute Stephen Glass could have stolen the winner but he fired over after losing his composure.

And, in doing so, it was the last chance that Hibs passed up after their excellent play for most of the afternoon.


Hibernian: Malkowski, Whittaker, Martis, Jones, Murphy, Scott Brown, Beuzelin (Glass 87), Thomson, Sproule (Stewart 78), Benjelloun, Fletcher. Subs Not Used: McNeil, Hogg, Shiels, McCluskey, Shields.

Booked: Jones, Benjelloun, Scott Brown, Thomson.

Goals: Sproule 12, Thomson 63.

Celtic: Boruc, Telfer, Balde, McManus, Naylor, Nakamura, Lennon, Jarosik, Maloney (McGeady 61), Miller, Zurawski (Sno 46).

Subs Not Used: McGovern, O'Dea, Wilson, Riordan, Pearson.

Booked: Balde, Lennon, Jarosik.

Goals: Sno 70, McGeady 74.

Att: 16,747

Ref: M McCurry



SEE ALSO
Collins praises Hibs despite draw
26 Nov 06 |  Hibernian


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