Celtic’s recovery continues and they’ve now won four on the bounce in all competitions, beating Aberdeen 2-1, before 2-0 victories over Motherwell, Ferencvaros and St. Johnstone.
Given the defensive deficiencies that have plagued them both last term and under new management this season, a third clean sheet in a row is a hugely encouraging sign.
There’s no question that Ange Postecoglou has discovered his best centre-back pairing in Cameron Carter-Vickers and Carl Starfelt, and will be hoping the Hoops can register back-to-back clean sheets away from home in the league for the first time since February.
Hibernian seem to be heading in the opposition direction with Aberdeen subjecting them to a third straight defeat at the weekend, and perhaps the most worrying aspect has been the decline in performances.
Although they only lost narrowly to Rangers, having played two-thirds of the game with 10 men, they were thumped 3-0 by Dundee Utd on home turf.
That was then followed by defeat to an Aberdeen side that were on a 10-game winless run, including losses in each of their past five, as Hibs registered just a single shot on target despite the Dons featuring a makeshift backline decimated by injury.
To add to Hibernian’s woes, experienced centre-back Darren McGregor will be suspended after receiving his second booking in stoppage time.
They will however be able to cling to an impressive record hosting Celtic in recent times as the visitors haven’t won at Easter Road in league action since January 2014, with Kris Commons, Virgil van Dijk and Teemu Pukki on the scorecard that day.
Admittedly, Hibs were relegated that season and didn’t return to the top-flight for a few years, but it’s still seven attempts that Celtic have now tried and failed to claim a league win here.
Celtic To Win
Ange Postecoglou has a decision to make up front as Giorgos Giakoumakis scored in his long-awaited first start for the club last time out after a few decent performances from the bench.
However, while Jota continues to grow in stature, Kyogo Furuhashi was a largely peripheral figure as he was shunted out wide.
The Japanese international has been largely sensational since his arrival, though it’s not the first time where he’s been less effective when removed from the central role, most notably in the Old Firm derby defeat to Rangers at the end of August.
Celtic are improving and have now won six of nine league games since the start of August, keeping clean sheets in all but one of those victories.
They may have a poor record travelling to Hibernian in recent times, but their hosts come into this fixture off the back of increasingly poor performances and have only had four shots on target across their past three outings.
CELTIC TO WIN