Celtic ends losing streak, beat Hearts
The Hoops have stuttered in their journey to the summit this season but they responded to their shock home 1-0 defeat by Inverness at the weekend in fine style with goals from striker Lassad Nouioui and right-back Mikael Lustig before Charlie Mulgrew's cut-back was deflected into his own net by Gorgie midfielder Ryan Stevenson.
The second half was a formality for the clinical Parkhead side with striker Gary Hooper grabbing a fourth late in the game before Hoops goalkeeper Fraser Forster showed why he has forced his way into the England set-up by saving a late penalty from Hearts skipper Marius Zaliukas.
Celtic's impressive performance must have put a smile on the face of manager Neil Lennon who had rather dramatically threatened to quit the club following an altercation with fans during the Caley defeat, and he took the acclaim of the traveling supporters as his side coasted to victory.
The hosts had arguably the better of the opening 79 minutes before the game burst into life when Hibs conceded a penalty, which substitute Nigel Hasselbaink saw saved by goalkeeper Ben Williams.
Saints boss Steve Lomas was sent to the stand by referee Craig Thomson soon afterward and Paul Cairney added to his misery by netting what proved to be the winner after 82 minutes.
Substitute David Robertson was taken off on a stretcher and Saints captain Dave Mackay was shown a straight red card for an altercation with Leigh Griffiths in stoppage time as the hosts' misery was complete.
The victory came as welcome relief for Hibs, who returned to second ahead of Inverness, following successive losses to Dundee and Aberdeen and ahead of the Edinburgh derby with Hearts in the William Hill Scottish Cup fourth round on Sunday, while Saints saw their unbeaten three-match run end.