Hibs Under 23s moved to within a fingerbreadth of the Division 1 South title after a 2-2 draw with nearest rival Celtic. Two equalisers and a strong second half garnered the point that means the final game of the season will require a 3-point and 24-goal swing to deny the Edinburgh club glory.
However, this was not an easy game in Ormiston. Celtic had inflicted Hibs’ only defeats this season - once in the league, and again in the cup - and were nearly ahead in the third minute when Shannon Nagle headed Darcy Molley’s right wing corner. Keeper Alicia Yates dived to her right to parry.
Hibs duly responded as Holly Aitchison floated a corner against the top of the Celtic bar and the left wing Ellie Jai Reid curled a shot just beyond the right post. Yet the visitors were soon ahead, in the 18th minute, via a familiar move. After Jodie Bell’s shot had been deflected wide, Molley lofted in the corner and Nagle headed. This time Yates was unsighted and the ball was in the bottom left corner.
That lead was short-lived. In the 25th minute Reid played Kirsty Morrison to the left byline. The congregation of keeper, defender and striker at the near post could only slow the driven cross, with the ball politely rolling on. Cari Johnston followed in to thump the ball into the empty net.
An even game and an even scoreline, with the title on the line, matters were getting tenser. Celtic exerted pressure on the Hibs left back area, with Emily Shearer having one cross desperately blocked and Rebecca McAllister striking straight at Yates. Yates also pipped Megan Wands to a dangerous pass, the ball rebounding off the striker for a goal kick.
Hibs were not to survive. Bell was tugged away from a through-ball, giving Celtic a free-kick on the edge of the box. Molley’s clipped strike was almost slow-motion, hitting the underside of the bar, and as the world waited Bell put the ball over the line from a yard with the last kick of the half.