Bellamy on the mark as Celtic stroll

 

Hibernian 1 Celtic 3

Scottish champions Celtic took advantage of an unexpected Rangers slip-up to regain pole position in the title race with a comfortable win at Hibernian today.

Alex McLeish's men missed the chance to extend their lead at the top to nine points with a shock draw against Inverness at Ibrox yesterday.

Celtic responded today by inflicting a second consecutive defeat on Tony Mowbray's third-placed side - with goals for Stilian Petrov, John Hartson and Craig Bellamy.

Guillaume Beuzelin gave Hibernian some late consolation with an injury-time strike but it was a case of men against boys in the capital.

The champions made a dream start when Petrov coolly slotted home his second goal in two games, with the Hibs defence sleeping after just four minutes.

Chris Sutton found Hartson in the area, and he controlled the ball before picking out the Bulgarian at the back post.

Petrov still had some work to do but dragged the ball back on to his right foot, outwitted both Gary Caldwell and goalkeeper Simon Brown and sidefooted the ball into the back of the net from just three yards out.

Brown found himself picking the ball out of the back of the net again in the 31st minute.

Sutton got to the byline and chipped the ball across the face of goal, and Bellamy's flick-on fell at the feet of Hartson who got between Smith and Murphy to poke home from close range.

In the process of setting up the second goal, Sutton seemed to pull his hamstring and was instantly replaced by Aiden McGeady.

Bellamy scored his second Celtic goal in the 69th minute.  There was a hint of offside as he got ahead of Steven Whittaker to race on to Alan Thompson's through ball, and he shrugged off the challenge of the
Hibs man before firing low under Brown from just inside the box.

Beuzelin gave the home fans something to celebrate in the final minute when he converted Konte's cross at the back post.

PA