CELTIC 3 HIBS 1
CELTIC overcame a determined Hibs side in a day of firsts at Parkhead this afternoon.
Teen sensation Karamoko Dembele struck his debut goal for the first team and Polish hitman Patryk Klimala claimed his first goals for the Hoops in the east end of Glasgow.
The Edinburgh outfit provided the champions with the perfect work-out as they prepared for the Premiership opener against Hamilton Accies on Sunday.
Dembele hit the leveller just before the interval to nullify Josh Doig’s 14th-minute breakthrough effort for the visitors and Klimala, whose only previous goal came against Nice in France, took centre stage in five sparkling second-half minutes to turn the game in the favour of Neil Lennon’s side.
Leigh Griffiths came on for Ewan Henderson just before the hour mark and made an impact on his first game after missing out on the three-match French tour and the 2-0 victory over Ross County yesterday.
Doig left Conor Hazard helpless with a neat goal following a good run and cross from Daryl Horgan, but that stung the Hoops into a response and Hibs keeper Kevin Dabrowski was busy to repel the raids of the home side. However, he had no answer when Dembele finished with a low effort after a searching through ball from captain-for-the-day Olivier Ntcham.
In the 58th minute, Griffiths replaced Henderson and came so close to scoring within moments of coming on the pitch when he knocked the ball wide of the netmider, but David Gray got back to clear off the line.
Some smart play from Dembele presented Griffiths with the chance to run at the defence in the 78th minute. He lifted the ball over the diving Dabrowski for the perfectly-placed Klimala to knock into the inviting net.
The third arrived five miutes later and Griffiths was again involved. He whipped in a corner-kick that was helped on by Anthony Ralston at the near-post and the Polish hitman appeared in the right place at the right time to power in a header.
Job done. Now for the real thing against Accies at the weekend – the champions’ first step in their bid for a historic ten in a row.
TEAM: Hazard; Elhamed, Welsh, McInroy (Connell 45), Ralston; Ntcham, Robertson, Soro, Henderson (Griffiths 58), Dembele; Klimala.