Hibernian 0 Celtic 3 match report: Gary Hooper secures Double for Celtic and wards off feelings of 'failure'

 

Hampden Park

For all they enjoyed their adventures in Europe and celebrated raucously at the conclusion of their Premier League title defence, this was the victory that mattered the most to Celtic.

A 3-0 Scottish Cup final triumph over a pallid Hibernian might have lacked a little of the lustre Neil Lennon's side have grown accustomed to this season, but it was the win that ensured this term will be remembered as a successful one.

Some of the Parkhead party claimed they would consider the campaign a failure were a domestic double not completed, something Kris Commons touched upon amid the joy. "At the start of the season we wanted to win as many trophies as possible," he said. "Two out of three's not bad and the European campaign was magical."

The manager, too, had voiced a desire that his side should enjoy one last moment of glory lest it become dismantled by suitors over the summer. It was perhaps proper, then, that one of the most coveted players in the Celtic squad should score the two goals that effectively ended the contest before Joe Ledley burnished the scoreline.

Gary Hooper's domestic form might have been blunted in the humdrum aftermath of the Champions League campaign but the Englishman's instincts were sharpened for the showpiece. Both his goals were lamentable from Hibernian's point of view, with the first coming after an opening eight minutes in which the Edinburgh side had looked the more roused by the occasion.

Mikael Lustig's low cross traversed the box untouched and fell for Alan Maybury to clear, only for the full-back to swipe at the ball and miss it entirely. That allowed Anthony Stokes to sling over a delivery that evaded goalkeeper Ben Williams and centre-back Paul Hanlon but not Hooper.

The second goal was an equally ugly concession. Stokes again was the provider, this time his teasing ball finding Hooper's head, the striker's movement having discombobulated the hapless Hanlon.

Even at that stage, with little more than half an hour gone, the contest was over. Leigh Griffiths, Hibs' talisman, went close when he rolled an effort across the face of Fraser Forster's goal, but Celtic confirmed their success with 11 minutes remaining, Lustig's cross flashing behind Hooper but falling to Ledley to lash high past Williams. "It's just brilliant," said Stokes. "We just wanted to finish the season on a high and to finish with the double has capped a great season for us."

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