A late Kevin Nisbet goal earned Hibernian a deserved share of the spoils against Celtic.
It was the least Hibs deserved after a strong performance against the defending champions and, on another day, it could have been all three.
In a match that could have gone either way, Celtic’s David Turnbull appeared to have snatched a late winner for the hosts with a wonderful free-kick, only for Nisbet to snatch an injury time leveller following a set-piece at the other end.
Jack Ross made five changes to the side that lost to Livingston last weekend. Goalkeeper Matt Macey made his Hibernian debut, whilst Martin Boyle missed his first league match of the campaign due to an ankle injury.
The Easter Road men made a bright start to the match and took the game to the defending champions.
They carved out the first opportunity of the evening in the third minute when Jamie Murphy collected a pass from Joe Newell before stepping away from Shane Duffy and shooting for goal only for his effort to deflect wide off Tom Rogic. From Melker Hallberg’s corner kick, Nisbet headed over the crossbar.
Three minutes later a poor defensive clearance from Ismaila Soro was volleyed towards goal by Newell and only the instinctive reactions of Connor Hazard denied him. The Celtic goalkeeper diving to his left to beat the powerful shot away.
Hibs kept up their early pressure and forced a series of corner kicks as Celtic struggled to get out of their own half.
Even when the home side did manage to get up the park Hibs hit them on the counter-attack, as they did in the ninth minute when Murphy drove forward before finding Nisbet with a lovely cross-field pass from which the striker’s angled drive forced another good save from Hazard.
Celtic eventually came into it and the impressive Turnbull struck a good shot from distance that forced Macey into his first save of the evening.
Despite dominating the opening stages Hibs were fortunate not to fall behind when Newell was caught in possession by Mikey Johnston and, from his pass, Cameron Harper nipped in behind the visitor’s defence before shooting into the side-netting from a tight angle.
Temporary Celtic boss, Gavin Strachan, watched as his side exerted some pressure of their own towards the end of the first half with Rogic, Soro and Diego Laxalt all forcing Macey into action. Whilst the goalkeeper did well on each occasion, Ross will have been pleased that his side were limiting their opponents to shots from distance.
That said, Celtic did get in behind the Hibs defence in the dying embers of the first half when a lovely dink over the top from Turnbull, into the path of Callum McGregor, left the midfielder with only Macey to beat. However, he screwed his shot wide of the target.
A tight hamstring for Josh Doig saw the youngster replaced by Lewis Stevenson during the interval. Veteran Stevenson joined an elite group of players by making his 500th appearance for the club.
Hibs were soon on the attack and a wonderful defence-splitting pass from Newell found the run of Hallberg, who tried to knock the ball beyond Hazard only to be denied by a wonderful save from the goalkeeper.
Most of the attacking threat in the second period was coming from the visitors and Hazard was again called into action to keep out a Nisbet volley that had taken a deflection off substitute Christian Doidge.
With nine minutes remaining a careless foul from Stephen McGinn gave away a free-kick on the edge of the Hibs box and Turnbull stepped up to punish the Edinburgh men by whipping an unstoppable finish into the top left-hand corner of the net.
Despite the setback Hibs continued to push forward with Hazard saving from Murphy and Stevie Mallan in quick succession.
In the first minute of added time the Easter Road men finally got the goal their play deserved when Paul McGinn showed bravery to get his head on a Mallan free-kick and although Duffy blocked it just in front of goal, Nisbet was on hand to sweep it high into the Celtic net.
Hibs pressed for a winning goal and went close when Mallan’s shot took a wicked deflection off Duffy and flashed just over the crossbar.
Report: Richard Payne.