CELTIC travelled to Edinburgh yesterday looking to reclaim top spot in the Ladbrokes Premiership from Kilmarnock for the second time in eight days.

Things, however, didn’t go according to plan for Brendan Rodgers’s side. Having not conceded a goal in the first half of a domestic fixture in the 2018/19 campaign, they allowed Vykintas Slivka to score after just 46 seconds.

A Florian Kamberi strike in the 59th minute put Neil Lennon’s men further ahead and they held on to record a fine win. So how did the double treble winners come unstuck?


The Easter Road club had gone seven games without winning in the Premiership before their narrow 1-0 victory over Hamilton away nine days ago and had slipped from second to eighth in the table as a result of that dire run of form.

But they were more like their old selves again yesterday. Lennon went with a positive 4-4-2 formation and was rewarded with another hugely encouraging showing and thoroughly deserved win.

It was a remarkable display considering that Hibs were without no fewer than seven players - Thomas Agyepong, Marvin Bartley, Martin Boyle, Paul Hanlon, David Gray, Charalampos Mavrias and Mark Milligan were all missing.

Goal scorer Slivka, too, failed to reappear for the second-half. He suffered a foot injury after a reckless challenge by Scott Brown which the visiting captain could count himself lucky only to be booked for.

Lennon was a satisfied man at the end of 90 minutes his side bossed. But it was also easy to understand his frustration. The mercurial nature of his team must be infuriating.

“I’m proud and delighted,” he said. “But I’m also annoyed because two weeks ago against Kilmarnock we were pathetic and now we’ve put together two back-to-back wins playing well. I thought we looked healthy today and there was a good belief about us. On the counter-attack we were fantastic and off the ball our discipline was very good.”


With Leigh Griffiths receiving treatment for personal issues and unlikely to return to action any time soon, Odsonne Edouard is the only recognised striker Rodgers has at his disposal yesterday.

If the Frenchman has an off day, as he most certainly did yesterday, Celtic will struggle up front. Edouard looked flat and unwilling to embrace the physical aspect of the game.

The 20-year-old, a record £9 million signing in the summer, has shown he can perform under pressure at the highest level in the past. He is, too, the second highest scorer in the country with 13 goals to his name. But he is young and it is inevitable his form will fluctuate.

No wonder Rodgers is keen to increase his options in attack in the January transfer window. This outing underlined the need for reinforcements.

“We need to obviously (strengthen) in the window,” he said. “Even when we had Leigh and Odsonnne, we were definitely in the market for another striker.

“Because of the number of games that we play, I think it’s been unfair on Odsonne. It is certainly something in January that we have to look at it.”


Rodgers denied that switching to a three man rearguard, with Kristoffer Ajer, Jozo Simunovic and Filip Benkovic in the middle and Emilio Izaguirre and Scott Sinclair deployed as wing backs, had been responsible for the below par display and defeat.

“We gave away two poor goals from our perspective,” he said. “It was to do with tactical discipline and not concentrating. The formation may well have had an effect. But I don’t think it had anything to do with the goals.”

At no stage in proceedings, though, did the defence look comfortable. The change was understandable given that Mikael Lustig was out injured and Cristian Gamboa had been poor at right back in a rare start earlier this month. But Rodgers should revert to a more conventional set-up going forward to avoid further slip-ups. Given the closeness of the title race he can ill-afford them.


This was the Glasgow club’s ninth game on the road in the Premiership this season and the sixth occasion they have failed to triumph. They have now picked up just 12 points out of a possible 27. With a game against Rangers at Ibrox looming on Saturday week that has to be a concern for Rodgers.


The lead in what is turning out to be an entertaining and unpredictable Ladbrokes Premiership race changed once again yesterday when Celtic lost and Rangers beat Hamilton at home.

It is not inconceivable it will change again this week. If Lennon’s charges show the same commitment and skill when they face Steven Gerrard’s men in midweek in what promises to be a compelling encounter then they can easily pick up another three points.

“That should kickstart our season,” said Lennon. “If we overcome Rangers on Wednesday we’re back in the top six and things look healthy again.”