James Forrest scored his seventh goal in ten games as his early goal helped Celtic get over the line against a very well-organised Hamilton side. The win see’s Neil Lennon’s side continue their 100 percent win record to the season and keeps them top of the Scottish Premiership Table.
Credit has to go to Accies, who were excellent on the day and limited the champions to very few chances. In fact, many will agree that they were the much better side in the second-half and could have snatched a draw had they been more clinical with the couple of chances they created.
It was the visitors who started quickly, with debutant Mohamed Elyounoussi being in the thick of the action. The Norwegian nearly scored with his first touch in a Celtic shirt as he saw his goal-bound volley blocked by Sam Stubbs.
Just a minute later the winger created the opening goal as he beat his man on the left-wing, before cutting it back for James Forrest to tap home from six-yards out.
The away side continued to push forward to try add to their lead, but Hamilton’s back five were defending superbly and the champions were struggling to create anything in the final third.
Hamilton began to grow in confidence and started to get on the ball a lot more, but long balls towards to George Oakley were just not working as he was continually being bullied by Kristoffer Ajer and Christopher Jullien.
Accies were playing without a recognised right-back after Aaron McGowan limped off injured at Tynecastle two weeks ago. Celtic had obviously done their homework as they kept trying to utilise the wide area’s of the park to create most of their chances.
The next chance of the afternoon came midway through the first-half, when a cross by Forrest was just to high for Odsonne Edouard.
Half Time- Hamilton 0-1 Celtic
Similar to the first-half, Celtic came out flying with a high tempo.
On the 50th minute, Elyounoussi’s curling effort from the edge of the box was blocked. The hosts were unable to clear their lines and the ball eventually ended up at the feet of James Forrest, who beat his man and saw his effort fantastically tipped onto the underside of the bar by Owain Fon-Williams in the Hamilton goal.
Brian Rice had a plan which looked to be working so far. He introduced Marios Ogkmpoe as George Oakley made way, and the Cypriot made a huge difference for Hamilton up-front and it was now Ajer and Jullien being bullied.
As the game went on, confidence was quickly turning the home sides way and Accies were giving it a right good go, but just couldn’t seem to break down Celtic.
They did have a couple of chances though, firstly when Blair Alston got on the end of long ball and his effort from 20-yards out went just wide.
On the 80th minute, Ogkmpoe was sent through one-on-one, but pulled his effort wide after coming under pressure from Jullien.
Celtic nearly doubled their lead in injury time when a corner by Ryan Christie found substitute Vakoun Bayo, who headed straight at Fon-Williams.
However, there was nearly a huge upset as Accies came close to snatching a point right at the death. Scott McMann burst forward down the left flank before his cross towards the front-post was inches away from connecting with Ogkmpoe.
It was a valiant effort from Hamilton, who limited a full-strength Celtic side to very few chance as well as dominating the majority of the second-half.
Full Time- Hamilton 0-1 Celtic
What The Managers Said
Brian Rice told Accies Tv: 🗣” The second half we changed it up, we changed the formation and we gave it a right go. I cannot fault the boys today.”
Neil Lennon said: 🗣 ” I’m delighted, we dominated from start to finish. Its a brilliant win off the back of a two week break and its five wins out of five.”
I’m not saying we deserved something yesterday, but we could have taken something had we been more clinical. The whole squad were excellent and we kept a full-strength Celtic side very quiet. I can’t even remember Edouard touching the ball. Brian Rice got everything spot on, and the introduction of Oggy was a game changer. He was a real handful . I really hope we start with him and George Oakley up-front at St Mirren next week as I think they will cause them huge problems.
Lets get a good support to Paisley next weekend against St Mirren, in what is a huge game. If we play like we have over the last few weeks I don’t see why we cant win.
Fon-Williams, Want(78), McMann, Fjortoft(69), Stubbs, Easton, Gogic, Collar, Alston, Smith, Oakley(53)
Subs- Southwood, McKenna(78), MacKinnon, Cunningham, Beck(69), Ogkmpoe(53), Moyo
Forster, Elhamed, Ajer, Jullien, Bolingoli, McGregor, Brown, Forrest, Christie(90), Elyounoussi(67), Edouard(77)
Subs- Gordon, Bauer, Hayes(90), Ntcham, Rogic(67), Griffiths, Bayo(77)
Referee- Don Robertson
Officials- David McGeachie & Alistair Mather
Fourth official- Steven Reid
Attendance- 5,300 (3,812 away)
Yellow Cards- Fjortoft(45), Gogic(84)