Celtic win at Hamilton to close in on title

Callum McGregor scores for Celtic

Goals from Callum McGregor and Leigh Griffiths saw Celtic beat Hamilton to move to within one win of securing a seventh successive Premiership title.

McGregor’s smart finish in the third minute put the champions ahead after Moussa Dembele missed an early chance.

Rakish Bingham levelled after slackness from Kristoffer Ajer, but Accies lost Darren Lyon to a second yellow card.

Leigh Griffiths nodded home Scott Sinclair’s cross within a minute of the restart as Celtic strolled to victory.

The result took the champions 13 points clear of second-placed Rangers with five games left, as all Scottish Premiership teams now await their post-split fixtures.

Accies – who have a game outstanding against Kilmarnock next Saturday – remain four points above Ross County in the relegation play-off spot, and five clear of bottom side Partick Thistle.

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers said before the game he wanted a performance and a tempo from his players to build towards next week’s Scottish Cup semi-final against their Old Firm rivals.

With that in mind, he decided to leave recently-returned goalkeeper Craig Gordon out of the squad because of the artificial surface.

The home side also made a change in goal. With Gary Woods picking up a knock during the week, manager Martin Canning favoured Ryan Fulton.

Six seconds after kick-off, Fulton was forced to block a shot from Dembele after his defence completely switched off to allow the Frenchman through on goal. It was a warning the Hamilton back-line failed to take heed of.

Minutes later, Patrick Roberts, starting for the first time since November after recovering from a hamstring injury, twisted and turned on the right before finding McGregor, who fired low off the post and into the net from 16 yards.

Hamilton celebrate Rakish Bingham's equaliser

With dominance in possession, a second Celtic goal should have followed, but they huffed and puffed and after 18 minutes the home side were level, completely against the run of play.

Bingham raced onto a high ball over the Celtic back three, outmuscled a hesitant Ajer and lashed it past Bain. It was simple but effective stuff.

Celtic shifted gears again and piled the pressure back on. Five minutes before the break, Accies were reduced to 10 men after Lyon was booked twice in the space of two minutes.

Card number one came after a late challenge on Kieran Tierney, and the second again involved the Celtic full-back. This time Lyon pushed him to the ground and referee Andrew Dallas pointed him towards the tunnel. It appeared harsh but was probably the correct call.

With Ben Nevis now turning into Everest, Accies boss Canning shuffled his pack for the mountain climb ahead.

But directly after the break, Celtic regained the lead through interval substitute Griffiths and it was demoralisingly simple from a Hamilton point of view.

Scott Sinclair picked the ball up on the left-hand side and his cross was met by the head of Griffiths, who nodded home his 13th of the season – plus two for Scotland – from six yards out.

Leigh Griffiths heads home Celtic's second goal

The match quickly settled into what looked like an attack versus defence training ground exercise.

Hamilton packed their 18-yard box and Celtic continued to pour forward looking for ways to penetrate.

In an extremely rare foray forward, Georgios Sarris almost headed Accies level from a Danny Redmond corner, but it was no more than a brief respite from Celtic dominance.

In the end, despite the late introduction of Charly Musonda, the champions simply ambled their way to another win, but one that takes them a step closer to a seventh consecutive title.

Line-ups

Hamilton

  • 12Fulton
  • 27Want
  • 5Tomas
  • 15van der Weg
  • 22LyonBooked at 42mins
  • 18MacKinnonBooked at 34minsSubstituted forFergusonat 62′minutes
  • 4Jenkins
  • 10RedmondSubstituted forRojanoat 84′minutes
  • 3McMannBooked at 49mins
  • 11CrawfordSubstituted forSarrisat 45′minutes
  • 9Bingham

Substitutes

  • 8Miller
  • 20Rojano
  • 23Hughes
  • 25Ferguson
  • 26Marshall
  • 89Sarris
  • 99Ogboe

Celtic

  • 29Bain
  • 4HendrySubstituted forGriffithsat 45′minutes
  • 35Ajer
  • 20Boyata
  • 7RobertsSubstituted forMusondaat 86′minutes
  • 8Brown
  • 21Ntcham
  • 63Tierney
  • 42McGregor
  • 11Sinclair
  • 10DembeleSubstituted forEdouardat 68′minutes

Substitutes

  • 9Griffiths
  • 14Armstrong
  • 22Edouard
  • 23Lustig
  • 24de Vries
  • 49Forrest
  • 67Musonda
Referee:
Andrew Dallas

Match Stats

Home TeamHamiltonAway TeamCeltic
Possession
Home24%
Away76%
Shots
Home3
Away20
Shots on Target
Home1
Away6
Corners
Home2
Away7
Fouls
Home10
Away9

Live Text

Match ends, Hamilton Academical 1, Celtic 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Hamilton Academical 1, Celtic 2.

Attempt missed. Charly Musonda (Celtic) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left.

Foul by Leigh Griffiths (Celtic).

Lewis Ferguson (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Scott Sinclair (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Shaun Want (Hamilton Academical).

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Charly Musonda replaces Patrick Roberts.

Attempt missed. Scott Sinclair (Celtic) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is high and wide to the right.

Substitution

Substitution, Hamilton Academical. Antonio Rojano replaces Daniel Redmond.

Attempt missed. Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses the top left corner.

Attempt missed. Olivier Ntcham (Celtic) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.

Attempt missed. Odsonne Edouard (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Xavier Tomas.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Ryan Fulton.

Attempt saved. Scott Brown (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Attempt missed. Georgios Sarris (Hamilton Academical) header from the right side of the six yard box misses to the left following a corner.

Corner, Hamilton Academical. Conceded by Kristoffer Ajer.

Foul by Scott Brown (Celtic).

Lewis Ferguson (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Kristoffer Ajer (Celtic).

Rakish Bingham (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. Dedryck Boyata (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Odsonne Edouard replaces Moussa Dembele.

Foul by Moussa Dembele (Celtic).

Shaun Want (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Hamilton Academical. Lewis Ferguson replaces Darian MacKinnon.

Attempt blocked. Darian MacKinnon (Hamilton Academical) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Foul by Scott Brown (Celtic).

Rakish Bingham (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Kristoffer Ajer (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Rakish Bingham (Hamilton Academical).

Attempt missed. Patrick Roberts (Celtic) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Xavier Tomas.

Attempt blocked. Olivier Ntcham (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Kieran Tierney (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Ross Jenkins (Hamilton Academical).

Attempt missed. Kieran Tierney (Celtic) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left.

Booking

Scott McMann (Hamilton Academical) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Callum McGregor (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

goal

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