Ryan Porteous has labeled Hibernian’s trip to Celtic Park a “different ball game” to their 2-2 home draw against Rangers yesterday.
Porteous was part of the Hibs side who managed to hold Steven Gerrard’s outfit to a stalemate yesterday. It was a massive favour to Celtic too, who can now go clear at the top whenever they play their game in-hand against Aberdeen.
However, the Hoops won’t be looking at Hibs with friendly acknowledgment for long. Jack Ross’ Hibees are at Parkhead on Sunday as they look to overtake Neil Lennon’s nine-in-a-row champions in the Premiership table.
Porteous has been looking forward to that one whilst discussing his side’s Rangers stalemate. And it appears that he’s fully aware he’s in for a tougher challenge next week.
As quoted by the Herald, Porteous said: “We know that Parkhead will be a different ball game. Celtic’s record there is fantastic. But we have the players in forward areas to hurt them. It will be a difficult task but we will go there with belief.
“People have to remember that we are up there as well. I am not saying we are going to challenge for this and that. But we are right up there through merit right now – through performances and good results, through keeping clean sheets and scoring goals.”
Celtic can never take Hibs lightly
In the Premiership, Celtic have only managed to win two of their last four against Hibernian. However, in saying that, our record at Parkhead against them reads much better.
The Hoops have put the Leith side to the sword in each of our last four meetings in Glasgow. Three of those have occurred with clean sheets too, so regardless of how well Ross has his side playing, Celtic will continue to be the overwhelming favourites.
One aspect that does throw a spanner into the works of course is the fact that Celtic are in Riga on Thursday night. Having a European game just days before such a tough fixture in the league isn’t ideal, but that’s what successful clubs need to deal with.
Hibs’ last win at Celtic Park came 10 years ago back when we were managed by Tony Mowbray. Since then they’ve had 11 attempts to replicate that victory at Parkhead, with eight of them ending in defeat.
But their goal threat is difficult to ignore at the moment. With Celtic recently taking a more risky approach with the 3-5-2 system, it’ll be interesting to see whether Ross matches up and goes with Kevin Nisbet and Christian Doidge as a front two.
Regardless, that can wait. All eyes, for now, will remain on Thursday night’s vital Europa League clash in Latvia.