Saturday, December 26, 2020
New Douglas Park, Hamilton
(Edouard 48pen, Griffiths 54, Turnbull 74)
Celtic dismantled Hamilton Accie with an excellent performance to record a 3-0 win at New Douglas Park. Neil Lennon’s side dominated from start to finish and could have ended the game with twice as many goals given the attacking play shown throughout the 90 minutes.
Odsonne Edouard opened the scoring from the penalty spot early in the second half and Leigh Griffiths doubled the lead six minutes later. David Turnbull completed the afternoon’s scoring 15 minutes from the end.
Celtic started the game with a good tempo and Hamilton immediately found themselves under pressure as the champions pushed for an early lead.
It didn’t Celtic long to cut open the Accies defence and only some excellent goalkeeping denied Neil Lennon’s side an early goal. A slick passing move between Odsonne Edouard and Leigh Griffiths saw Griffiths with a window of opportunity 10 yards out, but stand-in goalkeeper Kyle Gourlay showed good reactions to dive low and palm the shot away.
Celtic didn’t let up and threatened Hamilton with a series of good chances inside the opening 10 minutes. A headed clearance fell to Christie on the edge of the box and his deflected shot skidded across the roof of the net.
Nir Bitton headed a yard wide from a corner and Edouard weaved between two defenders inside the box using his excellent dribbling ability but the keeper rushed off his line to pounce on the ball.
Christie had another shot from distance flash narrowly wide in the 17th minute but it was Griffiths who came closest to scoring with two great chances midway through the first half. The first saw the Hoops striker hit the post with a downward header from Jeremie Frimpong’s cross. His second was a powerful left-footed strike from 20 yards which the keeper just managed to tip over the crossbar.
Hamilton left little space for Celtic to work with in the final third but the Hoops still managed to threaten their opponents as half time approached. A piece of individual brilliance from Edouard almost led to the opening goal. The Frenchman danced beyond four opposition players to create a glimpse at goal inside the box but he couldn’t keep his shot down.
Shortly before half-time, David Turnbull had a shot from distance. His drilled effort across the slippery surface could have troubled the keeper but it was too close to Gourley managed to hold on to it. A scramble inside the box late in the first half ended with Turnbull firing off another shot and the keeper saved Edouard’s goalbound deflected effort.
Celtic, unfortunate not to have gone into the break three or four goals to the good, started the second half well and it wasn’t long before they established a thoroughly deserved lead. A late tackle by Aaron Martin on Edouard inside the box resulted in a penalty, and the 22-year-old finished comfortably from the spot-kick.
A second goal looked likely as Celtic maintained the pressure on the home side immediately after the penalty. Turnbull curled a shot inches wide and Ryan Christie came close with a rocket of a shot from close range that was well saved by Gourlay.
Celtic’s quick passing in and around the box continued to trouble a stubborn Accies defence and Celtic used it to wonderful effect to double their lead six minutes after the opening goal. Frimpong passed infield to Edouard who, with his back to goal on the edge of the area, rolled a backheel pass into the path of Griffiths, and the Hoops striker finished well from around 18 yards to make it 2-0.
There was an exciting rhythm to Celtic’s attacking playing and the champions looked increasingly likely to add to their lead as the game went on. They did just that 15 minutes from the end with another excellent piece of play. Edouard’s header from McGregor’s cross came back off the post but Turnbull was in position to convert the rebound from close range.
Celtic were in complete control as the final whistle approached and Neil Lennon will have been pleased to see his side put on such a dominant performance in both attack and defence.
HAMILTON ACCIES: Gourlay, Odoffin, McMann, Stirling (Mimnaugh 82), Easton, Hamilton, Trafford, A. Martin, Winter (Owolabi 69), Moyo (Munro 88), Hodson.
Subs: Scully, Hughes, Stanger, Johnson
CELTIC: Hazard, Taylor, Bitton, Griffiths (Ajeti 72), Soro, Turnbull (Johnston 78), Christie, Edouard, (Klimala 77) Frimpong, Ajer, McGregor.
Subs: Barkas, Duffy, Brown, Rogic, Elyounoussi, Laxalt.