Martin McConnell reports on our Boxing Day defeat by Celtic….
at Foys Stadium, New Douglas Park, Hamilton
on Saturday, 26th December 2020, kick off 3pm.
Hamilton Academical 0 Celtic 3
A very unusual live game on Sky TV at 3pm on a Saturday. Celtic recorded their fifth consecutive win after the victory against us today. We now sit second bottom and one point ahead of bottom side Ross County after the league table was reset by the SPFL following appeals (still to be heard) by Kilmarnock and St Mirren. In our case this has resulted in the removal of three goals and three points, pending an appeal. On the bright side, Motherwell, Saints and Killie are all within three points.
As was to be expected, Celtic had the bulk of possession and dominated from start to finish. The horrible weather (incessant rain) and some solid defending made things difficult for Celtic but were eventually able to score three in the second half.
Head Coach Brian Rice thought that his side gave it everything when he said, “We were well organised, disciplined, stuck to the game plan and were just unfortunate to lose that early penalty in the second half and it changed the course of the game.”
“The lads gave it everything today. They didn’t roll over and they put their feet in, put the head in and competed. You know I thought some of the performances were outstanding against a good strong Celtic team. I’m disappointed in the result obviously but not in terms of what the boys gave us.”
Hamilton made four changes to the side beaten by Livingston during the week, with Gourlay, Trafford, Winter and Hamilton replacing Fulton, Hughes, Munro and Mimnaugh.
Scottish Cup winners Celtic (having won last season’s delayed final the previous Sunday), also made four changes. Griffiths, Soro, Frimpong and Bitton came in.
With just three minutes played, Edouard and Griffiths combined nicely to produce a chance that Griffiths would certainly have normally stuck away if not for a great Gourlay save.
Christie then went close with a shot deflected over the crossbar for a corner kick, from which Bitton headed narrowly wide of the back post.
Hamilton found things difficult as Celtic began to dominate as they got used to the conditions. Frimpong came onto a game now as his cross to the back post was headed onto the upright by Griffiths, then went close again from a Frimpong cut back.
With thirty minutes played, Hamilton were still hanging in there as they defended their box well to deny Celtic many clear cut chances. However, once in possession themselves, Accies were wasteful and ultimately defending again in no time at all.
With the first half winding down, Celtic seemed to get a second wind. Edouard struck over the bar but not before running amok amongst the Accies defence thanks to some unbelievable footwork.
The chances continued deep into injury timewhen Gourlay had to be on his toes to keep Turnbull and Edouard from scoring the Celtic opener.
Inside three minutes of the restart Celtic were awarded a penalty kick after Edouard had his feet taken from under him. Although a little soft it looked the correct decision.
Edouard struck the ball to the right and even though Gourlay guessed right, it was put way beyond his reach.
Celtic were now on a roll. Turnbull curled a shot wide of the post, Gourlay saved from Christie then the visitors went two up when Griffiths struck the ball low into the corner of the net from just inside the 18 yard line.
The third came when five Celtic players charged forward in line. McGregor crossed to the near post where Edouard headed off the post and Turnbull was well placed to turn in.
Charlie Trafford and David Moyo had a couple of attempts blocked but that was about as good as it got for Accies today. Celtic had a few half hearted efforts before the final whistle but nothing threat worthy.
Accies: Gourlay, Odoffin, McMann, Stirling (Mimnaugh 80), Easton (c), Hamilton, Trafford, A Martin, Winter (Owolabi 68 ), Moyo (Munro 88 ), Hodson. Subs Unused: Scully, Hughes, Stanger, Johnson.
Celtic: Hazard, Taylor, Bitton, Griffiths (Ajeti 72), Soro, Turnbull (Johnstone 78), Christie (Elyounoussi 83), Edouard (Klimala 77), Frimpong, Ajer, McGregor. Subs Unused:Barkas, Duffy, Brown, Rogic, Laxalt.
Goals: Edouard 48 pen, Griffiths 54, Turnbull 72.
Referee: Don Robertson. Assistants:Graeme Stewart & Graham Chambers. 4th Official: Greig Aitken.