Hibernian reinvigorated the race for the Scottish Premier League title with a 2-0 win over leaders Celtic at Easter Road on Sunday. Second-half goals from John Rankin and Colin Nish helped end reigning champions Celtic's 12-match winning streak in the league as Hoops goalkeeper Artur Boruc made another blunder in an increasingly error-strewn season. Despite their defeat, Gordon Strachan's side remained top.
Celtic failed to extend their lead beyond four points over second-place Rangers, who thrashed Hamilton, 7-1, on Saturday, with both Glasgow giants having played 17 league matches apiece. This was only Celtic's second league defeat of the season, following a loss to Rangers in August. Hibs' victory saw them leapfrog Aberdeen into fifth place in the table.
Following a goalless opening period, Rankin broke the deadlock when he scored some 45 yards in the 55th minute. Although the shot swerved, Boruc should have got something behind it. Instead the ball evaded the Poland international's grasp and Hibs were ahead. Celtic pressed hard for an equaliser but, after withstanding the pressure, Hibernian doubled their lead. Alan O'Brien sped down the left and his cross was volleyed towards goal by Rankin before Nish diverted the ball past Boruc.
Celtic had received a warning of what was to come in the first-half when Steven Fletcher failed to make the most of a Boruc error. Shaun Maloney went close for Celtic when he forced a diving save from Hibs keeper Yves Ma-Kalambay with a 20-yard strike and curled a shot from similar distance wide of the post.
Strachan, who walked out of a press conference this week after being questioned about his future following reports linking him with the Sunderland job vacated by Roy Keane, dropped Japanese playmaker Shunsuke Nakamura and Georgios Samaras to the bench. The former Scotland midfielder said before kick-off he wanted more of a physical presence but aggression, or the lack of it, had nothing to do with the error Boruc made to help give Hibs their opening goal.