After another awful performance in Perth before the international break, it was back to The Hope CBD Stadium for Hamilton, who hosted last seasons champions, Celtic in what was bound to be another hard task for the South Lanarkshire side. The Celts have continued to dominate Scottish football this season, however they are not as good as they were last season, with Rangers marginally improving. Hamilton as always are sitting at the foot of the table but can count themselves lucky not to be in the relegation zone. This is purely down to the fact that Dundee and St Mirren have been very poor. After Saturdays 3PM results, shock victory’s for Motherwell and St Mirren as well as Dundee picking up a fantastic point at Easter Road puts Accies right back in the mix, with 2 vital games in a row coming up against Dundee and St Mirren.
Accies made 3 changes from the 4-0 defeat against St Johnstone with Mason Bloomfield being replaced by Mickel Miller, who was eligible to play after his red card v Livingston. Scott McMann took the place of Steven Boyd with Hamilton playing a defensive side and finally Darian MacKinnon was suspended so was replaced by Tom Taiwo.Brendan Rodgers made a couple of changes for Saturdays game, with Thursdays huge Europa League Tie away in Norway against Rosenberg. Craigg Gordon returned to starting 11 with Scott Bain on the bench. Oliver Ntcham also returned to the squad after a short period on the sidelines to replace Tom Rogic.
The game got underway in Hamilton with Celtic starting well.
They should have had a penalty after just two minutes, when a cross from Odsonne Edouard hit the hand of Matthew Kilgallon but was somehow turned away by Don Robertson. This set the theme for the game with Hamilton just continuing to suffer from constant Celtic pressure. The Glasgow side went close again after 10 minutes when Edouard controlled Kieran Tierney’s cross into the box, however his goal bound effort was blocked by Scott Martin. The next chance for the away led to the opening goal, a lovely set-piece. Callum McGregor played a short corner to Edouard, who returned it with a beautiful back-heel pass. McGregor looked up and fired a pass across the box to find Ryan Christie who fired the ball high into the net past Gary Woods. Scott Sinclair had a golden opportunity to make it 2-0, and probably put the tie to bed after 28 minutes, when Oliver Ntcham played a wonderful chipped pass right over the Hamilton defence and into Sinclair’s feet. Sinclair controlled well before his low effort was saved by Woods. It took the hosts 32 minutes to have an attempt at goal when Rakish Bingham stepped up and rifled his effort well over the bar. Edouard was involved in the first half and it was no surprise to see him go close after 35 minutes, when Ntcham found Edouard on the edge of the penalty area. The striker took a touch before taking aim at the far-right corner. His effort was blocked well. The chances just kept coming for the champions. This time it was right-back, Mikael Lustig who went close to doubling the lead. The Swedish international took control of the ball on his chest in the area before hitting it back across goal. The blocked effort fell for Sinclair on the edge of the box, but his follow-up went over.
Half-Time- Hamilton 0-1 Celtic
The visitors got the second half underway and they continued to dominate proceedings. In the 49th minute, Oliver Ntcham and the away fans thought they had made it 2-0 when his powerful effort struck the side netting. Celtic sat in first gear for the whole game and didn’t really push too hard for a second, with Accies just sitting back, so they did struggle to break the five or six defenders down. It was only a matter of time until the champions doubled their lead and they did so after 64 minutes when a cross from Lustig found the head of Sinclair, who tried to head it towards Edouard, but it came off of the heel of the unlucky, Scott Martin and into the back of the net. The effectively killed the game and made it even more boring for Hamilton fans. Many actually called it a day early. Leigh Griffiths came off the bench for his first appearance in five weeks and made it 3-0 after 81 minutes. I’m afraid to say it was another mistake from Gary Woods. It certainly isn’t the first time I’ve wrote this in the last few weeks, in the dying minutes, Ryan Christie should have had his second and Celtic’s fourth when a quick counter attack led to Christie curling his effort wide from 12 yards. Another abysmal performance by Accies leads to a stroll in the park for Celtic.
Full-Time- Hamilton 0-3 Celtic
Woods, McGowan, Tshiembe(79), Kilgallon, Gordon, McMann, Imrie, Taiwo, Martin, Miller, Bingham(75)
Subs- Mucha, Sowah, Want, Brustad(75), Boyd, Bloomfield, Keatings(79)
Gordon, Lustig, Boyata, Benkovic, Tierney(79), Ntcham, Christie, McGregor, Forrest(84), Sinclair, , Edouard(75)
Subs- Bain, Hendry, Izaguirre(79), Hayes, Griffiths(75), Morgan(84), Mulumbu
Referee- Don Robertson
Assistants- Daniel McFarlane & Calum Spence
Fourth Official- Steven McLean
Goals- Christie(13), Martin OG(68), Griffiths(81)
Yellow Cards- McMann, Martin(81), Taiwo(87)
Red Cards- 0