Celtic fall to first domestic defeat of season

Hibernian 2 Celtic 1

Hibernian 2 Celtic 1

Nineteen-year-old Kevin Thomson scored the goal which sent Celtic tumbling to their first domestic defeat of the season.

Thomson’s 82nd-minute strike – his first goal for Hibernian – was enough to book his side a place in the CIS Insurance Cup semi-finals against Rangers.

Bobby Williamson’s youthful side had to come back from behind, with a Grant Brebner penalty cancelling out Stanislav Varga’s header.

The starting line-ups had an unbalanced look to them with Celtic fielding established internationals and the home side pitching in teenagers.

Hibs centre-half Jonathan Baillie was even a debutant, with the 18-year-old handed the task of snuffing out Henrik Larsson and Chris Sutton.

But what Hibs lacked in experience they made up for in exuberance and in the end they were deserved winners.

Larsson was allowed to head an Alan Thompson free-kick inches wide in the 13th minute but Hibs’ reply was to go even closer, with Derek Riordan denied only by the woodwork.

Riordan had fooled John Kennedy into thinking a cross from the left was coming and instead cut inside to send a swirling ball beyond Robert Douglas which bounced back off the top of the post.

Scott Brown was first to the rebound but Varga was there to block.

Five minutes later and the goal-frame at the other end was shaking when a slice of good fortune set up Sutton, who had just sent a diving header from a good position straight at the goalkeeper.

Thompson let fly from outside the box and saw his effort hit Larsson before falling into Sutton’s path in the box. In came the shot from 12 yards out but it cannoned back off the crossbar.

Garry O’Connor blazed a good chance over before referee John Rowbotham began to brandish his yellow card, with Thomson penalised for hacking Paul Lambert down before becoming the victim when Thompson felled him at full pelt.

Kennedy completed a trio of first-half bookings for one foul too many for the official’s liking.

Brown presented O’Connor with another good chance straight after the restart with a ball which sent the striker clear of the Celtic rearguard. In came a powerful shot but Douglas got enough behind it to block and Lambert was there to mop up.

Shaun Maloney replaced Sutton up front in the 50th minute and six minutes later his side were in front.

Thomson conceded a corner which Liam Miller swung in for Varga to beat goalkeeper Daniel Andersson in the air and although the man who had conceded the flag-kick tried to stop the ball from crossing the line he was unable to do so.

Hibernian were back on level terms by the 64th minute when Kennedy was adjudged to have used a hand in the box under pressure from Tom McManus.

Brebner made no mistake with the spot-kick, blasting past Douglas, who had at least guessed correctly.

Kennedy almost made amends at the other end by meeting a Thompson free-kick, for a yellow-card offence on Ross Wallace by Steven Whittaker, on the volley but it was a difficult chance at the back post and he could not hit the target.

Both sides made changes, with Stephen Dobbie replacing McManus and Lambert making way for Craig Beattie.

But it was Hibs who had the most zest and Thomson served up a memorable winner with eight minutes remaining.

The midfielder lashed home from the edge of the box with the outside of his left boot to condemn Celtic to their first domestic defeat of the season.

It could have been even worse for Celtic as the woodwork denied Brown in the last minute, although there was still time for Larsson to head a good chance over at the other end.

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