Robbie Keane netted his 12th goal since arriving at Celtic in January
By Martin Conaghan
A Robbie Keane penalty helped Celtic edge out Hibernian in a fast-paced encounter at Easter Road.
Keane netted the 12th goal of his loan spell, confidently converting from the spot in the 62nd-minute.
Anthony Stokes had perhaps been harshly penalised for a challenge on Aiden McGeady and a spot-kick was the result.
Derek Riordan was denied by the Celtic crossbar in the 69th minute, but the hosts failed to find the target and Celtic secured the points.
The victory helps Celtic maintain pressure on Rangers at the top of the table, although, with a 10-point advantage and a game in hand, the Ibrox side look unlikely to be toppled.
Hibs have now lost valuable ground on Dundee United and lie in fourth place, trailing the Taysiders by five points, having played a game more.
Lukasz Zaluska returned to Celtic goal after Artur Boruc was left out due to a family bereavement, while John Hughes dropped Lewis Stevenson to the bench and Chris Hogg was left out altogether as Anthony Stokes and Darren McCormack came in.
Riordan's fourth-minute free-kick tested Zaluska in the Celtic goal when Ian Murray nodded down a searching ball into the danger area.
The pressure from Hibs continued when John Rankin found Stokes down the right and the former Arsenal man blasted in a shot that Zaluska parried wide.
Celtic replied at the other end when McGeady fed Marc-Antoine Fortune inside the Hibs penalty area, but Souleymane Bamba made the block and the Frenchman was denied.
Josh Thompson blazed a shot over the bar after Georgios Samaras had nodded down a Lee Naylor corner.
Celtic appeared to be denied a penalty in the 17th minute when Murray handled the ball under pressure from Keane, but neither referee Charlie Richmond nor his assistant on the sideline spotted the infringement, despite the Irishman's protests.
With 20 minutes played, Scott Brown fired over the bar after a Naylor corner was cleared, then Celtic keeper Zaluska made a double save from a Riordan free-kick sent in from the edge of the area.
Samaras rifled in a 20-yard shot in the 34th minute that Graham Stack held well, then the keeper comfortably gathered a Naylor corner with the last touch of the first half.
There was no let-up in the pace after the re-start and Samaras fluffed a chance to shoot for goal from the centre of the Hibernian penalty area after Fortune crossed in from the right.
Colin Nish fired a tame effort at Zaluska as the hour mark approached, then Fortune warmed the hands of Stack at the other end.
Stack was again called into action in the 61st minute when Naylor curved in a tempting direct free-kick as the visitors enjoyed a brief spell of pressure.
One minute later, Stokes was punished for a dangerous challenge on McGeady in the Hibs penalty area and Robbie Keane stepped up to convert the resulting penalty kick with confidence.
Riordan struck the Celtic crossbar in the 69th minute with a thundering half-volley as the hosts attempted to restore parity, then Murray completely miss-hit a sterling opportunity from 10 yards out.
Keane attempted a bold effort from a tight angle in the 75th minute, but Stack was positioned well to deny.
With about five minutes remaining, Darren McCormack sent in an over-ambitious volley from 25 yards, but it sailed over the bar.
Celtic's Morten Rasmussen should have done better with a right-foot strike from the edge of the Hibs penalty area in the last few minutes of the game, but the visitors held out and interim manager Neil Lennon maintained his 100% record in charge of the Glasgow side.
60:49 Penalty awarded for an unfair challenge on Aiden McGeady by Anthony Stokes.
60:25 Lee Naylor takes a outswinging corner to the near post, clearance made by Steven Thicot.
59:09 Lee Naylor has an effort direct from the free kick, Graham Stack makes a save.
59:09 Booking Steven Thicot receives a caution.
59:03 Steven Thicot gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Georgios Samaras.
58:47 Anthony Stokes challenges Darren O'Dea unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Landry N'Guemo.
58:31 Drilled left-footed shot by Marc-Antoine Fortune. Save made by Graham Stack.
57:26 Effort on goal by Colin Nish from 25 yards. Comfortable save by Graham Stack.
55:54 John Rankin challenges Landry N'Guemo unfairly and gives away a free kick. Landry N'Guemo restarts play with the free kick.
54:22 Free kick taken by Lukasz Zaluska.
54:22 Booking Liam Miller goes into the book for unsporting behaviour.
54:17 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Landry N'Guemo by Liam Miller.
51:39 Foul by Liam Miller on Aiden McGeady, free kick awarded. The free kick is swung in left-footed by Lee Naylor, Steven Thicot
makes a clearance.
50:51 The ball is sent over by Liam Miller, clearance by Andreas Hinkel.
49:38 Corner taken left-footed by Lee Naylor from the right by-line, Darren O'Dea takes a shot. Patrick Cregg gets a block in.
47:52 Aiden McGeady has an effort at goal from the edge of the box that misses to the right of the target.
47:25 Unfair challenge on Scott Brown by John Rankin results in a free kick. Andreas Hinkel takes the direct free kick.
45:19 Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Lee Naylor.
45:01 The referee blows his whistle to start the second half.
45:00+1:30 The match has reached half-time.
45:00+0:49 Lee Naylor takes the inswinging corner, save made by Graham Stack.
42:04 Unfair challenge on Scott Brown by Ian Murray results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Josh Thompson.
41:18 The ball is crossed by Darren McCormack, Josh Thompson makes a clearance.
39:40 The official flags Anthony Stokes offside. Lukasz Zaluska takes the free kick.
38:03 Free kick awarded for a foul by John Rankin on Marc-Antoine Fortune. Lee Naylor takes the free kick.
37:32 Liam Miller delivers the ball.
35:19 A cross is delivered by Aiden McGeady.
33:32 Short corner taken by Aiden McGeady.
32:36 Georgios Samaras takes a shot. Save by Graham Stack.
32:02 Free kick awarded for a foul by Colin Nish on Darren O'Dea. Lukasz Zaluska restarts play with the free kick.
31:26 Foul by Georgios Samaras on Ian Murray, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Souleymane Bamba.
30:42 Souleymane Bamba challenges Marc-Antoine Fortune unfairly and gives away a free kick. Lee Naylor restarts play with the free
28:57 Shot on goal comes in from Derek Riordan from the free kick.
28:57 Booking Darren O'Dea goes into the referee's book.
27:47 Foul by Darren O'Dea on Colin Nish, free kick awarded.
27:18 Patrick Cregg fouled by Lee Naylor, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Graham Stack.
24:21 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Colin Nish by Darren O'Dea. Derek Riordan takes the free kick.
23:43 Colin Nish gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Darren O'Dea. Free kick taken by Lee Naylor.
22:01 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Landry N'Guemo by Liam Miller. Lee Naylor takes the free kick.
21:12 Colin Nish challenges Josh Thompson unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Andreas Hinkel.
20:03 Inswinging corner taken by Lee Naylor from the right by-line, Shot on goal by Scott Brown from inside the box goes harmlessly
over the target.
19:00 Liam Miller gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Marc-Antoine Fortune. Direct free kick taken by Lee Naylor.
16:57 Steven Thicot gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Landry N'Guemo. Lee Naylor delivers the ball from the free
kick left-footed from left channel.
12:05 Corner taken left-footed by Lee Naylor, Josh Thompson produces a left-footed shot from close in that goes over the bar.
11:11 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Darren McCormack by Aiden McGeady. Free kick taken by Darren McCormack.
10:00 Patrick Cregg concedes a free kick for a foul on Landry N'Guemo. Free kick taken by Lee Naylor.
9:13 Marc-Antoine Fortune takes a shot. Blocked by Souleymane Bamba. Scott Brown concedes a free kick for a foul on Colin Nish.
Direct free kick taken by Darren McCormack. Patrick Cregg fouled by Landry N'Guemo, the ref awards a free kick. John Rankin
restarts play with the free kick.
6:40 Anthony Stokes takes a shot. Save by Lukasz Zaluska. Outswinging corner taken left-footed by John Rankin, clearance made by
4:20 Souleymane Bamba produces a left-footed shot from inside the area that clears the bar.
4:06 Corner from right by-line taken by John Rankin.
2:58 Scott Brown challenges John Rankin unfairly and gives away a free kick. The ball is sent over by Derek Riordan, Colin Nish
gets a header at goal, save by Lukasz Zaluska.
2:08 Foul by John Rankin on Aiden McGeady, free kick awarded. Lukasz Zaluska takes the free kick.
0:48 Marc-Antoine Fortune produces a cross, clearance by Souleymane Bamba.
0:00 The referee gets the match started.
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