Bhoys see off Hibs
Naylor and Samaras goals sink Hibs
Last Updated: 01/03/08 2:28pm
Naylor: Crucial opener
Celtic kept up the pressure on leaders Rangers with a hard-fought 2-0 win over Hibernian at Easter Road.
Second half goals from Lee Naylor and substitute Georgios Samaras were enough to give Gordon Strachan's men their ninth successive SPL win.
Hibs started the brighter of the two sides and missed a great chance to break the deadlock after just seven minutes when Steven Fletcher sent John Rankin clear on goal, but Artur Boruc kept out the midfielder's effort with his legs.
The home side thought they had scored two minutes later when Colin Nish headed home from Rankin's free-kick, but the striker's celebartions were cut short by the offside flag.
Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink had Celtic's first chance of the contest on 15 minutes when he headed Shunsuke
Nakamura's deep cross into the sidenetting.
ClaimsCeltic had claims for a penalty waved away on 35 minutes when Scott McDonald went down in the box under a challenge from Abderraouf Zarabi.
Hibs went close to scoring just before the break when Ian Murray headed over the crossbar from Brian Kerr's corner.
Celtic stepped up the tempo in the second period and made the breakthrough on 64 minutes with Naylor netting his first ever goal for the club.
Naylor picked up the ball on the halfway line and drove forward where he got a fortunate deflection off Chris Hogg on the edge of the box before curling a superb right-footed shot into the bottom corner.
Celtic made the game safe 15 minutes from time when Samaras rose highest to head home Aiden McGeady's inviting cross.
Hibs almost pulled a goal back five minutes from time when Martin Canning saw his header from Rankin's corner clip off the crossbar.