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Celtic defeat would have been a 'crime', claims Rodgers after Hibernian almost snatch it

Hibernian 2-2 Celtic

By Ronnie Esplin

Brendan Rodgers claimed it would have been a "crime" had his Celtic side lost their unbeaten domestic run in game 68 after the Hoops gave up a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Hibernian.

It looked like the Ladbrokes Premiership leaders would take three points at Easter Road when Scott Sinclair grabbed two goals in four minutes after the break.

However, the home side fought back and former Celtic defender Efe Ambrose reduced the deficit before substitute Oli Shaw levelled three minutes later.

Parkhead defender Mikael Lustig cleared a shot from Shaw off the line in a thrilling last few minutes when both sides could have won the game.

Celtic boss Rodgers said: "That was the craziest thing about it as you could actually lose the game - and to lose the game would have been a crime.

"We were 2-0 up going into the last 15-16 minutes of the game and we should have been probably four or five up.

"Everything, from our defensive pressure in the game, they didn't really have anything against us.

"There was one chance in the first half where Martin Boyle got down the right and got a shot but apart from that, we had great comfort in the game as a team and 2-0 up with 15 minutes to go, it looks as though we could go on and get more goals.

"Two-nil in football is the most dangerous scoreline you can have as at 2-1 - from them being not in the game really - they have that momentum and they can be free and there is no pressure, they can just run and play.

"On reflection, I was really happy with a lot of the game, how we played, our composure, as it's a tough place to come here and play.

"They are a tough team. I thought we were much the better team but without getting the result."

When asked about the contest between Celtic skipper Scott Brown and fellow Scotland midfielder John McGinn, which provided an enthralling sub-plot, Rodgers backed his player to the hilt.

"There is no contest," he said. "Scott Brown was the exceptional midfield player on the pitch.

"I think John McGinn is a good player, good drive, good energy but Scott Brown is the exceptional midfield player in Scotland and he has shown that, not just in Scotland but in the Champions League.

"So he (McGinn) will have a way to go before he would be at that level."

Hibs manager Neil Lennon - who admitted his interest in signing former Aberdeen player Niall McGinn, who is back from a stint with Gwangju in South Korea and who watched from the stand as a guest - was at odds with his fellow Northern Irishman's assessment.

"I totally disagree with that," said the former Celtic manager who admitted it "would have been fortunate" had Hibs snatched the win.

"I thought McGinn was superb, physically, his football was good."

HIBERNIAN: Marciano, Whittaker (McGregor, 81 mins), Ambrose, Hanlon, Stevenson, Boyle, Bartley (Shaw, 71 mins), Barker (Slivka, 81 mins), McGinn, McGeouch, Stokes. Unused subs: Dabrowski, Matulevicius, Murray, Porteous.

CELTIC: Gordon, Lustig, Simunovic, Boyata, Tierney, Brown, McGregor, Ntcham (Armstrong, 85 mins), Forrest (Hayes, 80 mins) Sinclair, Edouard (Dembele, 71 mins). Unused subs: De Vries, Ajer, Bitton, Griffiths.

Man of the match: Scott Sinclair

Match rating: 8/10

Referee: John Beaton

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