Anthony Ralston powers in an early header to put Celtic in frontAnge Postecoglou hailed Celtic’s first-half performance against Hibernian as their best during his time in charge.
Anthony Ralston, Cameron Carter-Vickers and Kyogo Furuhashi struck in the opening 30 minutes as the visitors dominated at Easter Road.
Martin Boyle knocked in a corner before half-time but Hibs could not recover from their early mauling.
“The first half was outstanding, probably the best football we’ve played all year,” said Postecoglou.
“The second half was a bit different. We had to defend a bit more because they opened up and threw more bodies forward. I thought we handled it well. There were positive signs in both halves about the team we want to be.”
Postecoglou’s team are now two points behind leaders Rangers after the first round of top-flight fixtures.
“It’s helping us now that we’re a lot more settled and we’ve got some options within the 11 and being able to change the team,” added the Australian. “This was a good performance but we know we can keep on improving.”
Reaction & as it happenedIn his pre-match interview Hibs head coach Jack Ross said he had not detected any dip in confidence from his players but he was left to lament an “unacceptable” first 45 minutes as the home side looked petrified at the sight of Celtic streaming forward from the first whistle.
Slumping to a fourth consecutive loss, Hibs were completely overwhelmed by Celtic’s slick interchanges with no apparent appetite for the fight as they sat off passively.
After 14 minutes it was 2-0 and both goals were gifts as Ralston and Carter-Vickers were left all alone to apply a header to a free-kick, then a volley to a corner.
In between, Hibs had a glorious chance to level but Joe Newell wanted a touch before shooting and Joe Hart stuck out a leg to stop the close-range effort.
The third Celtic goal was a sight to behold as Tom Rogic left a trail of defenders in his wake before Jota rolled the ball across goal for Kyogo to tap in.
David Turnbull twice shot wide and Matt Macey made a good save to thwart Kyogo as the one-way traffic continued but Hibs were next to strike as Boyle was the beneficiary of yet more slipshod marking to nod in a Newell corner.
With Rogic withdrawn due to an injury, Celtic lost some of their fluency after the break as Hibs upped their aggression and drive.
The hosts continued to look vulnerable from crosses as Carl Starfelt and Giorgos Giakoumakis spurned headed chances but they did spend more time in attack with Hart making an excellent block from Jamie Murphy.
Man of the match – Tom RogicThe mdfielder only lasted 44 minutes but in that time led the home side a merry dance, with his clever passing and close controlWhat did we learn?When Celtic are in full flow, they take some stopping. With Rogic running the show before his injury and Mikey Johnston lively in his first start since January. They are the first team in the division to string together four straight wins and that momentum augurs well.
However, Hibs offered little resistance in a one-sided first half and were again left to rue an inability to repel deliveries into their penalty box.
The Edinburgh side lack the midfield energy to press effectively, while Kevin Nisbet has neither the pace or presence to operate as a lone striker. And, with a thin squad, head coach Ross does not have many options to change things.
What they saidHibernian head coach Jack Ross: “First half, we were very poor, second half, we were very good – and that period when we were very poor cost us the game. If fans want to be critical, direct it at me. At the moment the players need backing. It’s my team and I need to lead them to better results.
“Saturday is now a massive game for our season. We need to reproduce the second-half performance.”
Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou: “We were really fluent, played through the lines and created good chances. We scored three and could have had another three in the first half. It was really pleasing to see, especially here against a good side.
“Joe had to make a couple of saves but that’s why he’s there. He’s an outstanding goalkeeper and an important part of our team because for the most part we’re dominating games and you need a keeper who can make those one or two big saves.”
What next?Celtic are at home to Livingston on Saturday (15:00 BST), while, at the same time, Hibs – on their worst run since spring 2014 – travel to Dingwall to meet a Ross County side buoyed by a thumping first win of the season at Dens Park.
Player of the match
with an average of 8.57
HibernianSquad number10Player nameBoyle
Squad number1Player nameMacey
Squad number6Player nameMcGinn
Squad number22Player nameDoyle-Hayes
Squad number32Player nameCampbell
Squad number3Player nameDoig
Squad number5Player namePorteous
Squad number4Player nameHanlon
Squad number11Player nameNewell
Squad number15Player nameNisbet
Squad number18Player nameMurphy
Squad number19Player nameGullan
Squad number13Player nameGogic
Squad number8Player nameWright
CelticSquad number56Player nameRalston
Squad number18Player nameRogic
Squad number20Player nameCarter-Vickers
Squad number15Player nameHart
Squad number8Player nameFuruhashi
Squad number42Player nameMcGregor
Squad number14Player nameTurnbull
Squad number17Player nameJota
Squad number88Player nameJuranovic
Squad number4Player nameStarfelt
Squad number19Player nameJohnston
Squad number6Player nameBitton
Squad number7Player nameGiakoumakis
Squad number11Player nameAbada
1Macey6McGinn5PorteousBooked at 53mins4Hanlon3Doig10Boyle22Doyle-Hayes13GogicBooked at 29minsSubstituted forCampbellat 45’minutes11Newell18MurphySubstituted forWrightat 76’minutes15NisbetSubstituted forGullanat 76’minutesSubstitutes8Wright12Wood16Stevenson19Gullan21Dabrowski27Cadden32CampbellCelticFormation 4-3-3
15Hart56Ralston20Carter-Vickers4Starfelt88Juranovic18RogicSubstituted forBittonat 44’minutes42McGregorBooked at 69mins14Turnbull17Neves Filipe8FuruhashiSubstituted forAbadaat 81’minutes19JohnstonSubstituted forGiakoumakisat 66’minutesSubstitutes6Bitton7Giakoumakis10Ajeti11Abada29Bain54Montgomery57WelshReferee:Don Robertson
Live TextMatch ends, Hibernian 1, Celtic 3.
Second Half ends, Hibernian 1, Celtic 3.
Nir Bitton (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Jake Doyle-Hayes (Hibernian).
Jota (Celtic) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Paul McGinn (Hibernian).
David Turnbull (Celtic) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Joe Newell (Hibernian).
David Turnbull (Celtic) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Josh Doig (Hibernian).
Attempt missed. Jota (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Liel Abada following a fast break.
Corner, Hibernian. Conceded by Anthony Ralston.
Ryan Porteous (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Offside, Celtic. Anthony Ralston tries a through ball, but Giorgos Giakoumakis is caught offside.
Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Drey Wright.
Substitution, Celtic. Liel Abada replaces Kyogo Furuhashi.
Attempt blocked. Joe Newell (Hibernian) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Jake Doyle-Hayes.
Attempt saved. Ryan Porteous (Hibernian) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Jake Doyle-Hayes.
Substitution, Hibernian. James Gullan replaces Kevin Nisbet.