CELTIC 3 HAMILTON ACCIES 1
CELTIC eased to their 69th unbeaten game against Scottish opposition with a routine victory over hard-working Accies at Parkhead this evening.
A whirlwind two-minute period saw the champions stung into retaliation after the visitors, against the run of play, amazingly levelled just before the half-hour mark to wipe out Olivier Ntcham’s opener.
Craig Gordon was left helpless as Danny Redmond’s effort whipped past him to silence the Parkhead fans after their favourites had dominated.
The Hoops started well with Nir Bitton having a shot saved, James Forrest seeing one blocked and Stuart Armstrong firing too high all inside the opening 10 minutes.
So, it was no surprise when Ntcham got the opener in the 12th minute with a shot that exploded high past Gary Woods after some nice lead-up play from Scotty Sinclair.
The freezing cold fans sat back and awaited a goal avalanche, but Accies provided a sucker-punch when Redmond netted after a pass from Damian MacKinnon.
Odsonne Edouard, starting the game again with Moussa Dembele and Leigh Griffiths on the bench, then came close with a header from a set-piece, but his elevation was just a little too high.
However, Celtic displayed the stuff of champions when they turned the game around and made certain another three points would remain in the east end of Glasgow.
James Forrest, such an important play in the past couple of seasons, restored the lead in the 40th minute with a left-foot drive after service from Armstrong.
Sixty seconds later, the little winger was involved again as he set up Sinclair who fired in the the third.
Remarkably, that ended the scoring on a night where the Hoops were well on top without turning that superiority into goals.
In fact, they were given a scare in the 80th minute when Rakish Bingham thumped one against the post with Gordon a spectator.
Brendan Rodgers used all three substitutes in the second-half with Jozo Simunovic coming on for the limping Dedryck Boyata, Leigh Griffiths for Edouard and Jonny Hayes for the superb Forrest.
Hayes had a long-range shot saved and Griffiths blazed over the crossbar, but Woods’ goal remained intact in the second period.
Now it’s all eyes on Tynecastle on Sunday as the Hoops look for 70 not out against Hearts.
CQN Man of the Match – Ntcham.
TEAM: Gordon; Ajer, Bitton, Boyata (sub: Simunovic 73); Brown, McGregor; Ntcham, Armstrong; Forrest (sub: Hayes 80), Edouard (sub: Griffiths 68), Sinclair.