Hamilton 0-3 Celtic
Scorers: Edouard (Pen 49). Griffiths (54). Turnbull (74)
Saturday 26th December 2020
New Douglas Park
It was into darkest Lanarkshire in the worst of weather conditions for a game against Hamilton which is usually anything but academical for Celtic. On a plastic surface that is usually lambasted by players and fans alike, it may have been the difference in making this a game that was played at a very high tempo. The downpour of rain and the gusty wind, which made visibility fairly poor, would have made for difficult conditions on a grass pitch. Hamilton took to the field in their home strip of red and white hoops while Celtic opted for their smart all black third kit and they looked ready for business.
Hamilton were suffering from an injury crisis with seven first team players out and would be hoping for damage limitation. Lennon made two changes from the Ross County line up with Jullien out injured and replaced with Nir Bitton. He also dropped Laxalt for Taylor on the left and opted to continue with two up front with Edouard and Griffiths. The aforementioned would set out their mark as early as the third minute when Edouard combined nicely with Leigh Griffiths in the Accies box only to see Griffs low drive saved well by keeper Gourlay. Celtic were pressing for an early goal and saw efforts in eighth minute with a Christie shot put over the bar and a Bitton header flashed by from the incoming corner. A couple of minutes later saw Edouard dancing through a glut of players only to see the young Accies keeper collect. Around the 20 minutes mark it should have been a Celtic opener when a telling ball from Frimpong on the right fizzed it’s way to the back post where a rising Leigh Griffiths saw his header rifle off the post. It would have been well deserved as Celtic held 80% of possession at this time. Hamilton were riding their luck as they kept two lines of defence any time Celtic were in play. Waves of attacks by the away side saw further efforts on goal and best of those coming when Edouard proceeded to bear down on goal whilst weaving wonders with his magic feet through players only to blaze over and It would have been a contender for goal of the season. All these efforts were to no avail as Half time came and 0-0.
Celtic started the second half as they had left the first, hungry and still hunting for that breakthrough goal. In 49 minutes Edouard received a pass from Frimpong at the right post and turned to chip it over the keeper only for Accies Aaron Martin to slide in and scissored Edourd who went down. Penalty Kick. The big man didn’t repeat his cheeky * that had pundits clambering to call out his gamesmanship against Hearts but he made no mistake in rifling the penalty to the right and past the keeper. 0-1 Celtic. The Bhoys began to turn the screw and Turnbull was unfortunate in 52 minutes as his shot went wide. 53 minutes and Ryan Christie’s turn as his shot was well dealt with at the near post by Gourlay. 54 minutes and whoomp there it is and Griffiths the executioner. A beautiful pass from Frimpong found Edouard on the edge of the box who held it up and back heeled onto a running Leigh Griffiths who struck it sweetly with his left to put the Celts two goals up.
It really was one way traffic for most of the game and I believe Celtic would have added further misery for Hamilton but for the atrocious weather conditions. The strike partnership of Ed and Griff was a joy to watch all afternoon and the big French man can be pleased with his performance where on another day he would have bagged a hat trick. It will turn for him and soon. 64 minutes and Edouard was at it again with intelligent play laying on Turnbull who thundered a shot into the side netting. Griffiths gave way on 72 minutes for Albian Ajeti after a very productive afternoon. Two minutes later and a move by Eddy and a cross from McGregor looked like he had scored from open play when he got the head on it, only to see it come off the post but David Turnbull was on close call to slot it home for Celtic’s third and final goal. 77 minutes Lenny made a double substitution with Mikey Johnston and Klimala on for Turnbull and Edouard. 83 minutes Christie made way for Moi Elyounoussi and the same player should have had a goal on 88 minutes when Frimpong crossed and Moi headed towards goal only to see the effort blocked by Hodson on the Hamilton goal line. Both sets of players would have been glad to hear the final whistle to get up the tunnel and consume some hot Bovril. A great day's work by Celtic and as mentioned a big plus point is the renewal of the Ed & Griff partnership along with the introduction of Turnbull and Soro to the first team sheet and it could be the saving of the season. Lennon was delighted with the result and the performance as he heaped praise on his Bhoys and added “the body language was spot on. We’re looking far more like ourselves now.” And thank * for that.
22 Gourlay, 6 Hamilton, 16 A Martin, 5 Easton, 27 Hodson, 4 Stirling, 2 Odoffin, 14 Trafford, 3 McMann, 20 Moyo, 19 Winter.
Subs: 41 Scully, 15 Hughes, 17 Stanger, 18 Mimnaugh, 21 Munro, 36 Owolabi, 37 Johnson
65 Hazard, 30 Frimpong, 6 Bitton, 35 Ajer, 3 Taylor, 12 Soro, 17 Christie, 14 Turnbull, 42 McGregor, 9 Griffiths, 22 Edouard
Subs: 1 Barkas, 4 Duffy, 8 Brown, 10 Ajeti, 11 Klimala, 19 Johnston, 27 Elyounoussi, 93 Laxalt