Hoops beat Hibs to extend lead
By Chris Stanton
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Celtic are 15 points clear in The SPL after defeating Hibernian 2-1 on Sunday.
Celtic strengthened their grip on top spot in The SPL as Stephen McManus notched in a 2-1 win over 10-man Hibernian at Easter Road on Sunday.
The match had started promisingly for Hibs when, after wresting the initiative, they took the lead through Derek Riordan in the 24th minute.
25 yards out and right of centre of goal Riordan hit a fine free kick which found the top right hand corner to beat the despairing leap of Artur Boruc in the visitors' goal.
Stephen Glass then shot wide for the hosts but Hibs' good work was undone when Shaun Maloney converted a penalty after Simon Whittaker had tripped the player from behind in the box.
Roy Keane could have completed the turnaround shortly before half time but shot straight at Simon Brown.
After a slow start to the second half, Celtic's Mark Wilson was mightily relieved not to have conceded a penalty himself when he miscontrolled a pass and, in his desperation to atone, caught Ivan Sproule. Referee Alan Freeland saw no infringement and waved play on.
Three minutes later, The Hoops struck when McManus sidefooted home from ten yards for his seventh goal of the season to give the visitors the lead on the hour mark.
Things went from bad to worse for Hibs moments later when keeper Brown was dismissed for handling outside of his area as he attempted to thwart the run of Maciej Zurawski.
Hibs seemed intent on self-destruction and, in the 71st minute, for the second time in the match, Whittaker conceded a penalty for a clumsy trip on Maloney.
On this occasion, however, Maloney could not capitalise with substitute keeper Zbigniew Malkowski pulling off a fine save from the winger's spot-kick to minimise the visitors' lead.
The miss ensured a nervous end to the game for Gordon Strachan's side and Hibs' Steven Fletcher almost got on the end of a cross-shot but Celtic, too, could have scored again only for Malkowski to deny the surging Maloney.