Lustig Ajer Benkovic Izzaguire
Johnstone Christie Sinclair
Subs : Gordon, Simunovic, Bitton, Hayes, Burke, Forrest, Henderson
You have to wonder sometimes as to what the point of certain clubs is? What are the ambitions? What are the limitations and the desires to exceed expectations? Is survival in the top tier ALL that can be achieved?
When you see thirty or so away fans in a section next to you, the logical answer is another question. Why bother?
Football is a funny game, and if you saw the final result of this one, you might think it was a free flowing, expansive game with two teams out to entertain, but one having that little bit of extra quality. It wasn't. It was one team coming to set 11 men behind the ball and to attempt damage limitation from the first whistle to the last. These games are set to try you, and where the three points at the end are effectively all that matters.
Things got off to a lively start and we looked like we were in the mood from within the first 5 minutes. A corner landed at the feet of the midfield maestro McGregor, and his shot into the ground bounced wickedly and had to be tipped over the bar. An even better chance followed a few minutes later, when a truly fantastic run from Sinclair, jinking past the Hamilton defenders and opening the space in front of goal, was met with an unbelievable save that took Scotty's clean strike up onto the bar and over.
Celtic switched the ball quickly across the park from right to left and a neat pass from Christie landed at the feet of the unlikely form of Emilio, but Izzy's thunderous shot was matched by the keeper once more.
A good touch from Sinclair into the path of Christie brought out another good save for the keeper, before the young American Weah caught his first sight at goal. A defensive error from Barton at the heart of the Hamilton rearguard (Now known as having a Worral Wobble), was pounced on by Weah and he bore down on goal only to be thwarted by Fulton once more.
As the half wore on, Dougie Imrie upended young Mikey Jonstone just outside the edge of the penalty box on the Hamilton left, in what could be classed as a dangerous position. Christie stepped up to take it, but his attempt on target, hit the wall and rebounded back to him. He swept the ball infield to the waiting McGregor and his left foot shot from 20 yards came through a ruck of players and was fumbled by Fulton in goal and it trundled through his legs and into the net for a one nil half time lead. Agonising for the young goalie who had been instrumental in keeping the score down in the first half.
The second half took some time to get started. Weah and Johnstone made way for Forrest and Burke, and this seemed to give Celtic a fresh impetus. A deft pass from Lustig found the onrushing Forrest, his cutback found Burke with the pass across goal which fell to the feet of Christie, who had two efforts cleared in quick succession, but remarkably ended up being blocked both times by Ziggy Gordon.
One player who continues to impress when he strides forward is Kristoffer Ajer, and once again the big lad showed what great feet he has, found the space with a great run. he burst through the Accies defence and passed neatly to Burke, but he was just crowded out at the near post and couldn't direct his effort home.
Celtic were ramping up the pressure with a few more efforts and corners. The appearance of Burke gave us an option of the long ball, which was utilised. A speculative punt looked to be Fulton's ball but the keeper misjudged the bounce and Burke pounced onto the error. The impressive loanee, charged in towards goal and looked set to strike when James Forrest inexplicably seemed to get in his path. The effort after the near collision was tame and Hamilton cleared, what should have been a great goal.
Burke had another good effort on target after a fine pass from Brown - another good save by Fulton which kept the score at one nil, and with that precarious scoreline, a single breakaway could prove disastrous - and that was almost what happened. A pass through the channel fell between Benkovic and Ajer and dropped in front of Boyd. It looked like he would have a clean strike on target, but Ajer slid in with a last gasp tackle that trundled heart stoppingly close to Bains left hand post, but just by, thankfully.
That slight scare seemed to spur Celtic on and it took another howler from the keeper to break Hamilton's hearts. A left footed ball in from Mikel Lustig fell to Fulton inside his six yard box, but he strangely spilled it under no pressure and Christie was at hand to nudge the ball over the despairing keeper and into the net for two nil.