Celtic kicked off their quest for the all-important ten-in-a-row with a routine 5-1 win against Hamilton.
Last season’s Scottish Premiership top goal scorer Odsonne Edouard was the hero, scoring an opening weekend hat-trick, showing everyone why he’s one of the most wanted footballers in Europe, while Jeremie Frimpong and Patryk Klimala were also among the goals.
For Celtic the key to the ten-in-a-row lies in keeping hold of Odsonne Edouard. The Frenchman finished last season’s curtailed campaign with a total of 28 goals and a clinical opening day treble suggests he has lost none of his scoring ability.
Brian Rice’s young Hamilton team with an average age of 22 arrived in Glasgow with little expectation and despite being on the end of a heavy defeat, there were plenty of positives for the Lanarkshire side to take into their fixture against Ross County next Saturday.
Seventeen games had passed since October 2014 when they secured their only victory over the Parkhead club since 1938 and they could only have dreamed of ending their opening day hoodoo, and win their opening game for the first time since 2008.
The opening quarter of the game was a fairly contested match with both sides having their chances.
Christopher Jullien came close to putting Celtic ahead after just two minutes, but his header from a Ryan Christie corner was saved by Ryan Fulton. Minutes later it was his centre-back partner Kristopher Ajer who rose highest and headed over.
Hamilton, who came to have a go instead of sitting back, showed that they possess some quality on the counter-attack as 18-year-old Andrew Winter curled an effort towards the far post and was well saved by Scott Bain- who was preferred to new boy Vasilios Barkas. And minutes later, David Moyo got his head on Hakeem Odoffin’s cross but headed wide of the post.
Soon after, the champions stepped it up a level and after Jullien’s volley came crashing back off the post, Odsonne Edouard clinically put Celtic ahead in what was a mouth-watering move.
Jeremie Frimpong burst forward through the middle and some nice interplay from the young Dutchman and Ryan Christie saw the ball move out to Greg Taylor on the left-hand side.
He burst forward before playing a teasing ball across the face of goal, and as all good strikers do, Edouard got himself into a fantastic position to tap home unmarked from a couple of yards out.
Hamilton had another opportunity from a set-piece and should’ve equalised through Shaun Want, but he guided Scott McMann’s corner over.
The home side extended their lead with a similar goal to the opener. Again, Taylor was once again the provider as his low cross was this time tapped home by Frimpong, who pulled away from his marker with ease at the back-post.
Accies fought back and reduced the deficit through Scott Martin as his strike ricocheted off Jullien, wrong-footed Scott Bain and ended up in the bottom corner.
However, Neil Lennon’s side restored their two-goal lead shortly after the restart. Ryan Christie sent James Forrest running down the line, and after using his pace to beat his man, he cut the ball back for Edouard and he slotted home from a tight angle.
Three minutes later, the 22-year-old claimed just his second Celtic hat-trick. Fulton made a fine save to deny Mohamed Elyounoussi, but Edouard was in the right place to tap home the rebound into an empty net.
It was nearly five soon after, but Fulton came to Hamilton’s rescue again, tipping James Forrest’s curling effort round the post for a corner.
On 63 minutes, Frimpong came close to his second of the game as he and Forrest carved open the Hamilton defence with a one-two. Frimpong’s effort was saved before Callum McGregor’s follow-up header was cleared off the line by Hakeem Odoffin.
Patryk Klimala came on as a substitute for Edouard and had a header on target in the 87th minute which was comfortably held by Fulton.
However, the Polish striker soon netted his first competitive goal of his Celtic career, sliding the ball under Fulton from inside the box in the 90th minutes after being sent through on goal.
Full Time- Celtic 5-1 Hamilton
CELTIC: Bain, Jullien, Taylor, Brown, Christie (Karamoko 85), Edouard (Klimala 85), Elyounoussi (Ntcham 70), Frimpong (Elhamed 85), Ajer, McGregor, Forrest.
Subs: Barkas, Bitton, Soro, Rogic, Bolingoli
Fulton, Odoffin (McKenna 70), McMann, Hamilton, Martin, L.Smith, Want, Hughes (Ogkmpoe 41), Winter, Moyo, Callachan (Trafford, 70).
Subs: Gourlay, Fjortoft, Mimnaugh, Munro, C.Smith, Owolabi