Petrov's early strike ensures Celtic break Edinburgh stranglehold

Hibernian 0 Celtic 1

Steven Whittaker, 21, one of nine of Hibs' starting XI aged 25 or under, contributed a 90-minute shift of graft from right-back, and was denied by a fingertip save from Artur Boruc. Steven Fletcher, 18, also tested the stopper, smashing a volley towards goal.

The pace of Ivan Sproule was also a threat, although the Northern Ireland international striker can count himself lucky he was not sent off for an attempted head-butt on Paul Telfer, who reciprocated. Their scuffle, in truth, was more nodding in air than proper Glasgow kissing, and the referee, Craig Thomson, showed common sense in showing only yellows.

The victory was Celtic's fifth in six games and leaves them second behind Hearts, albeit still five points adrift. Their manager, Gordon Strachan, admitted concern at chances his side did not take, but "not so much that I'm going to top myself".

Hearts maintained their perfect start by winning 1-0 at Inverness on Saturday. Rudi Skacel's winner was his seventh goal in consecutive games, a record run at the start of a Scottish Premier League season. A victory for Hibs yesterday would have led to an Edinburgh one-two in the table this morning although their manager, Tony Mowbray, conceded his young side's sluggishness cost them.

"We struggled to get into top gear, but when we got there, most of the game was played in Celtic's half. We were playing a lot of young boys against a team of internationals. The mental tiredness as much as the physical tiredness took its toll."

Goal: Petrov (5) 0-1.

Hibernian (4-4-2): Malkowski; Whittaker, Caldwell, Hogg, Murphy; Shiels (Riordan, 65), Beuzelin, Stewart (Fletcher, 76), Thomson; O'Connor (Konte, 51), Sproule. Substitutes not used: Brown (gk), Glass, Morrow, Rudge.

Celtic (4-1-3-2): Boruc; Telfer, Baldé, McManus, Camara; Lennon; Nakamura (Maloney, 73), Petrov, Thompson (Pearson, 50); Hartson (Beattie, 61), Zurawski. Substitutes not used: Marshall (gk), Virgo, Wallace, Lawson.

Referee: C Thomson.

Booked: Hibs Sproule; Celtic Camara, Baldé, Telfer.

Man of the match: Whittaker.

Attendance: 15,649.

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