Celtic vs. Hamilton Academical
Saturday 25th February
They silenced the Steelmen last weekend, and now it’s Hamilton turn to face the seemingly unstoppable Celtic. This is the third time the sides have met so far this season, with the last meeting on Christmas Eve ending in a comfortable 3-0 victory for the Hoops. However, that was the past and this is now.
Could Accies be the team to finally topple Celtic, or will they simply be the next victim in their unbeaten run?
The big news going in to this match, as announced by Brendan Rodgers during his press conference on Thursday, is that Leigh Griffiths is set to return to the squad for Saturday’s game. Griffiths, who has found his chances limited in recent times, has apparently responded well to the manager’s comments regarding his attitude and as such, is being rewarded with a spot in Saturday’s squad. Hamilton are probably the ideal opponent for Griffiths to make his return against, as he managed to score two goals in as many games against them back in December. Given the fact that Griffiths will see this as an opportunity to not only silence his critics, but also as a chance to stake a claim for a regular spot in the starting eleven, you would fancy his chances of scoring at some point on Saturday.
With the news of Griffiths’ return to the squad, what does this mean for the man of the moment, Moussa Dembele? Dembele has been in a rich vein of form since returning from injury, having scored four goals in the last two games – making the decision to potentially bench him a tough one. Although, from the perspective of the manager, having to choose between two capable strikers is a good headache to have.
Leigh Griffiths will make his long awaited return to the squad this Saturday.
Another player to keep an eye on come Saturday is Scott Sinclair. The Englishman has appeared to be somewhat frustrated with himself in recent times, due to his inability get his name on the score sheet. Sinclair will undoubtedly be eager to bring this dry spell to an end, and given his quality and determination, I wouldn’t bet against him nicking himself a goal on Saturday.
Two players who won’t be playing any part in Saturday’s proceedings are Patrick Roberts and January signing, Kouassi Eboue. Roberts has yet to recover from his hamstring injury, whilst Eboue, who played the full ninety minutes in the SFA Youth Cup earlier this week, is apparently not fully ready for first team action (although the manager has stated that he is likely to be involved in the few weeks).
Martin Canning's men currently find themselves languishing in eleventh place, the relegation playoff spot, and will understandably be desperate for points. Whilst many would agree that this is unlikely to be the game that they pick up these crucial points, stranger things have happened.
Could Ali Crawford be the man to lead Hamilton to a shock victory?
If they are to pull off a shock victory, or perhaps a draw, then Ali Crawford is likely to have had some input in it. Crawford, who has now made over 200 appearances for his club, is Accies top goal scorer and main attacking threat, having scored seven and assisted with four so far in the league, However, should the Celtic defence find a way to neutralise his threat, they’ll have taken out Hamilton’s only consistent attacking threat.
Other players to look out for include Brazilian forward, Alexandre D’Acol who has scored five goals for the Accies this season and Rakash Bingham, who’s scored two goals in the last month.