Odsonne Edouard showed the class he possesses as his double helped Celtic edge past a stubborn 10-man Hamilton.
The final score line was very harsh on Accies who matched the champions for large spells of the game and were on the end of some very poor refereeing decisions.
Hamilton took a shock lead through Marios Ogkmpoe but were soon reduced to ten men following the dismissal of Jamie Hamilton.
Edouard scored from the resulting free-kick and it looked as if Accies were in for a long afternoon.
However, Guillaume Beuzelin’s men put in an inspirational second-half display and Celtic were struggling to pass the Accies defence.
It looked as Hamilton were going to get a share of the spoils, but in the final 10 minutes Celtic took their performance to the next level and Accies couldn’t deal with it.
Christopher Jullien fired Celtic ahead on the 78th minute and you could see the relief on the face of Neil Lennon, who raced out his dug-out and onto the field of play to celebrate. Edouard and Forrest added late goals to make it 4-1, but the score line certainly flattered the Parkhead side.
Hamilton made six changes from their defeat at home to Livingston. Owain Fon-Williams, Markus Fjortoft, Shaun Want, Lewis Smith and Mickel Miller all dropped out while Luke Southwood, Jamie Hamilton, Aaron McGowan, Blair Alston, Marios Ogkmpoe and David Moyo started.
There was also a place on the bench for deadline day signing David Templeton.
Neil Lennon made just one change from Celtic’s rampant win in Perth on Wednesday night, with 20-year old Stephen Welsh being handed his first team debut.
Celtic started rather sloppy and didn’t look comfortable at all and this was down to Marios Ogkmpoe who was causing the visitors defence all sorts of problems.
Neil Lennon’s men were struggling to replicate the start that they had against St Johnstone on Wednesday night, although a perfectly timed challenge by Hamilton captain Aaron McGowan prevented Odsonne Edouard having a clear-cut opportunity.
The first flash point of the afternoon came on the 13th minute when home fans were infuriated that Leigh Griffiths was only yellow carded for an off the ball incident with Sam Woods. The striker clearly stamped on the Hamilton player and should have been sent off by referee Nick Walsh, who saw the incident unfold right in front of him.
Hamilton’s first opportunity of the afternoon fell to Ogkmpoe. A poor clearance by Kristoffer Ajer fell to the Accies striker whose powerful volley was beaten away by Fraser Forster.
However, the 6’ 7” shot stopper stood no chance as Accies took a deserved lead on the 26th minute. A corner from Blair Alston found Ogkmpoe, who escaped his marker and his bullet header flew past Forster.
Just as soon as the home side were looking to build on their lead, another game changing moment occurred as 17-year old Jamie Hamilton was sent off for denying a clear goal scoring opportunity.
The teenager got caught on the wrong side of Griffiths, who used his experience well to force Hamilton to tug him back.
Accies were hit with a double whammy as Edouard stepped up and curled the resulting free kick into the top corner to level the game.
Lennon’s men looked a lot sharper in the second half and Griffiths spurned an excellent opportunity to put his side ahead when he side-footed James Forrest’s cross over the bar from 8 yards out.
Despite being reduced to ten men, Hamilton still threatened the champions on occasions. Ogkmpoe fired a ball across the face of goal from the by-line, but there were no takers.
Griffiths had a free-kick from 25-yards which was heading straight for the top corner until Luke Southwood brilliantly tipped it over the bar.
Ryan Christie and Tom Rogic both came on for the visitors and the two substitutes changed the game,with both having parts to play in the final 20 minutes.
Hamilton resistance was finally broken on the 78th minute when Christie’s cross was met by Jullien and his sweetly struck side-footed effort beat Southwood.
Not long after it was 3-1 as Rogic played the ball into Edouard, who took it in his stride and slotted the ball under the Hamilton keeper.
Edouard missed a sitter to claim his hat-trick but turned provider of the fourth goal as his cutback found Forrest and his effort went into the bottom right-hand corner.
Full Time- Hamilton 1-4 Celtic
HAMILTON XI: Southwood, McGowan, McMann, Collar (Templeton 67), Alston, Woods, Gogic, Moyo (Want 36), Martin, Hamilton, Ogkmpoe (Davies 75)
Subs not used: Gourlay, Hunt, Dales, L. Smith
CELTIC XI: Forster; Welsh (Rogic 76), Ajer, Jullien, Brown, Taylor (Hayes 75), Forrest, McGregor, Ntcham (Christie 65); Griffiths, Edouard
Subs not used: Bain, Bauer,Arzani, Klimala
Referee- Nick Walsh
Attendance- 4,708 (3354 Celtic)
Goals- Ogkmpoe(26), Edouard(35,81), Jullien(78), Forrest(90)
Yellow Cards- Griffiths(13), Gogic(14), Collar(64), Taylor(66)
Red Cards- Hamilton(34)