IT WAS case of happy away daze for Celtic as they entered February with three consecutive games on their travels at Hamilton Accies and Motherwell on points-gathering business and an intriguing Scottish Cup confrontation against League One Clyde in Cumbernauld.
Neil Lennon’s men negotiated a safe passage through the obstacle course to remain on top of the Premiership while booking their place in the next stage of the national competition, a trophy that had resided in the Parkhead trophy room for the previous three years.
Accies put in a good shift and took the lead before eventually buckling to a 4-1 defeat with Odsonne Edouard claiming a double – one from an exquisite free-kick – and Christopher Jullien and James Forrest adding the others.
BIRTHDAY BHOY…Olivier Ntcham celebrates turning 24 as he accepts the acclaim from Ryan Christie after scoring the opening goal in the Scottish Cup-tie against Clyde.
Next up was the trip to Fir Park three days later on February 5 where the Hoops never looked like faltering in a well-deserved 4-0 triumph with Well swept aside as the champions went into overdrive. Talisman Edouard fired in another twosome while Leigh Griffiths and Callum McGregor joined in the goal parade.
Sensation-seekers recalled a Scottish Cup exit for Gordon Strachan’s side, the holders of the trophy and with Republic of Ireland legend Roy Keane making his debut at Broadwood in 2006, when Lennon took his men to face namesake Danny’s part-timers. On this occasion, on a day of wind, rain and shine, there was no banana skin and Olivier Ntcham, celebrating his 24th birthday, thumped in the opener and Scott Brown added a quickfire second before substitute Vakoun Issouf Bayo knocked in a late third.
As ever, CQN‘s snappers supreme were there to capture the action. Here is the pick of the pics.
WALKING ON AIR…Scott Brown in control against Hamilton Accies.
THREE VERSUS ONE…Odsonne Edouard doesn’t mind the odds as he menaces the Accies defence.
SHOVE OFF…Leigh Griffiths isn’t too happy with the attentions of defender Alex Gogic with referee Nick Walsh looking on.
FLICK OF TIME…Accies keeper Luke Southwood touches the ball away from the challenging Odsonne Edouard.
BEST FOOT FORWARD…Christopher Jullien nips in ahead of the Accies defence to put the Hoops into a 2-1 lead.
JOY BHOYS…Christopher Jullien is congratulated by Jonny Hayes and Leigh Griffiths with Callum McGregor about to join in.
ON FIRE…James Forrest celebrates with Jonny Hayes after hitting the late fourth goal.
DOUBLE DELIGHT…Odsonne Edouard celebrates another two-goal display.
ACCLAIM FROM THE BOSS…Neil Lennon salutes the fans.
THE GOAL ROUTINE…Odsonne Edouard opens the scoring against Motherwell at Fir Park.
SIGN OF THE TIMES…Odsonne Edouard celebrates another striking success.
FLYING TONIGHT…Leigh Griffiths zips through the air while Jermain Hylton challenges.
OVER THE TOP…Olivier Ntcham smashes the ball high past Well keeper Mark Gillespie – and clears the crossbar.
FALL GUY…Ntcham lies on the ground as he contemplates his miss.
THAT’S HOW TO DO IT…Callum McGregor looks delighted after his superb goal.
THE HIGH JUMP…Odsonne Edouard displays his delight after another excellent free-kick.
BLOCKED…Celtic’s £3.5million new Bhoy Patryk Klimala is denied by Clyde keeper David Mitchell in the Scottish Cup-tie.
BIRTHDAY BASH…Olivier Ntcham celebrates turning 24 as he drives in the opener with Raymond Grant too late to intervene.
SITDOWN STRIKER…Scott Brown looks on as his near-post flick eludes keeper David Mitchell for the second goal.
TOUCHLINE INSTRUCTIONS…Neil Lennon fires out advice.
WHAT A MISS…substitute Vakoun Issouf Bayo hits the ball into the Clyde sidenet after being presented with a good opportunity.
WHAT A GOAL…Bayo makes up for his miss by rifling in the third strike.
BHOY OH BHOY…Bayo is congratulated by the rarely-seen Marion Shved with Jonny Hayes about to join in.
BY THE RIGHT…Moritz Bauer prepares for a volley with Marion Shved looking on.
KEEPING TRIM…Scott Bain comes off after his clean sheet in his first outing of 2020.
TOMORROW: The best of words and pics from the season: February continued.