THE history books will show that Celtic have now notched up a 30th consecutive win in domestic cup football - and are into their seventh final in a row for good measure - after what, on the face of it, looks a straight-forward win over Hibernian. In the end, that is what matters, but the record books will only tell half the story of a strange old night at the national stadium. Heck, Scott Brown even scored a double.

Try as they might, Celtic struggled to shake off a scrappy Hibs outfit, who may be a team that is lacking in many areas, but have shown over the last week that they aren’t wanting in spirit. The way the season has gone for them, that will provide encouragement to their under-fire manager Paul Heckingbottom that there is a little fight in the dog for the battle that lies ahead to salvage a poor start in the league, and perhaps, his job.

As for the victors, there were plenty of reasons to be cheerful, but also a few areas of concern despite being well worth their win. That they could leave out arguably their best player this term in Ryan Christie from the start and still win the match by a couple of clear goals would have pleased manager Neil Lennon. As will the performances of livewire Jeremie Frimpong and Mohamed Elyounoussi, who helped himself to a couple of goals as the winger looks to be hitting his straps. That may have been expected, but Brown joining him with a brace was not.

Lennon will though be a little perturbed by the way they allowed Hibs to keep the contest alive for so long when they should have been dead and buried.

There was good news for Celtic on the injury front prior to the game as Brown was passed fit despite limping off against St Mirren in midweek, and he would show his worth. They had an early concern though over centre-back Christopher Jullien.

The defender went up for a challenge with Christian Doidge, and the Hibs forward caught him with an elbow that had the big man seeing stars. Referee Bobby Madden judged there to be no malice from Doidge, and after being bandaged up, Jullien eventually got on with it.

It had been scrappy opening, but Celtic had a massive shout for a penalty as McGregor’s corner was flicked on by Kristoffer Ajer and onto the arm of Paul Hanlon, but referee Madden was unmoved. It mattered not, because moments later, Celtic were ahead.

After edging clear as the club’s top assist provider this century during the week, it was no surprise that James Forrest was the creator. The winger got down the right and dinked the ball up to the back post for the arriving Elyounoussi, who powered a header back the way the ball came and into the net.

After 20 minutes, it looked to be game over, and this time it was Celtic who were the beneficiaries of a dubious call. Jullien’s high ball over the top found Odsonne Edouard in as offside position, but the flag never came and he carried on, closing in on Chris Maxwell before dinking the ball over him cutely for the arriving McGregor to apply the finish.

Hibs had come from two goals behind during the week against Livingston, but avoiding an absolute hosing would have been the only thought on Heckingbottom’s mind as the ball nestled in the net once more.

As it was though, the unlikeliest of comebacks was given a shot in the arm out of nothing 10 minutes before the interval. Boli Bolingoli attempted a tackle on the edge of his area facing his own goal, succeeding only in prodding the ball through to Melker Hallberg, who kept his cool to slot under Fraser Forster and give the Hibs fans some hope. It appeared to be short-lived.

Celtic managed to restore their two-goal cushion before half-time, and again, it was brilliant play from Edouard that teed up the opportunity. The striker showed fleet of foot to dance past Tom James before knocking the ball across goal for Elyounoussi to crash high into the net.

Bolingoli made way at the break for Jonny Hayes, while Heckingbottom went for it as he threw on Florian Kamberi in place of Josh Vela.

The red-hot Elyounoussi was first to threaten as he came agonisingly close to claiming his hat-trick, cutting in from the left and firing across Maxwell only or the ball to crash off the inside of the post and back into the keeper’s arms.

It was then Forrest’s turn to test the opposite post, latching onto a high ball and getting a shot away that was diverted onto the outside of the woodwork by Lewis Stevenson’s outstretched leg.

It was only a matter of time before they put one between the posts though, and Maxwell gave them a hand as he spilled an in-swinging corner from Elyounoussi to allow Brown to tap home.

The Hibs fans streaming for the exits did a u-turn back into position moments later though as their team flickered back to life again, James’s cross finding the head of Kamberi and the ball flashing past Forster once more.

The concern that the Celtic manager was feeling at this stage was reflected in his actions, taking off Forrest for Hatem Elhamed, and he was right to be a little uneasy given Stevie Mallan then flashed an effort just over the Celtic crossbar.

Celtic were suddenly all over the place, and the newly-arrived Elhamed was caught miles out of position to allow Kamberi to cross, but Mallan just failed to connect at the back post to haul Hibs within a goal.

You sensed that was that, and Celtic restored a modicum of calm before delivering the coup de grace, Elyounoussi breaking and exchanging passes with Brown before the Celtic captain smashed the ball goalward. Maxwell saved, but the ball landed back at Brown’s feet and he did brilliantly to adjust and finish with his left foot.

It doesn't matter ow you do the job, as long as you get it done.