Accies media team reporter Mark Gillespie was at Celtic Park on Wednesday night…
at Celtic Park, Glasgow
on Wednesday, 27th January, 2021, kick off 7.45pm
Celtic 2 Hamilton Academical 0
Goals from Griffiths and Edouard leave Accies a point adrift of Ross County at the foot of the table. There weren’t many huge talking points at a deserted Celtic Park, but Head Coach Brian Rice saw enough to suggest the side has what it takes to get off the bottom ahead of a huge match next midweek.
“I’ve not seen much to say that we’ll be cut adrift. I see spirit and togetherness both tonight and every day in training”, he said post match,
“I thought we were outstanding tonight. We’ve come here, defended resolutely and created a couple of chances. It’s easy to get rolled over here, especially with early goals in each half. I’m proud of them- they fought for everything. I thought Scott McMann was exceptional.”
“It’s brilliant to be getting boys back fit. Hopefully we might have a few new faces in by next week too. We can’t get any bounce games just now, so to get Scott Martin as long as he got tonight and Marios on the pitch was big for us.”
But for the goals it never really sparked to life before 60,000 empty seats in Glasgow’s east end. Accies held their own for long spells against the champions but couldn’t find the cutting edge to sow any home worries.
We had set out positively, hoping Moyo and Ogkmpoe would pose a few questions of a much-criticised Celtic defence. The big striker was the only Accies change from last time out starting in place of Callum Smith.
Celtic themselves made two changes from last week’s draw at Livingston. Bain replaced Barkas in goal, with Edouard stepping in up front in place of Christie. The champions were incredibly still looking for their first win of 2021.
Accies looked to have settled well, Odoffin and Stirling sitting in midfield to try and snuff out any Celtic attacks. The opener was a bolt from the blue on 11 minutes. Griffiths didn’t seem to have much on 25 yards out but stole enough space to angle a low shot past Fulton from the edge of the D.
It was all about staying in the game, and Accies worked hard, looking for out balls to the two strikers. For all their possession Celtic only really carved Accies open once, Calum McGregor with a shot after a quick one two in the box beaten away by Fulton on 32 minutes.
The Accies belief grew and we passed up a great opportunity on 37 minutes. Scott McMann’s cross from the left picking out Moyo in the middle, but he couldn’t control his shot, skewing wide of the post.
Celtic threatened to kill off any Accies resurgence off towards half time, Turnbull clean through a minute later with a shot blocked by Aaron Martin. Soro tried his luck from the edge of the box three minutes from the break, Fulton just getting enough on it to turn away.
Edouard fired tamely at Fulton almost on the half time whistle. Accies got in just a goal down, only to last two minutes of the second half. The back four was caught out of position as Griffiths’ through ball deflected into Edouard’s path and he finished high for his 13th goal of the season.
Griffiths almost put the hosts out of sight a minute later, taking down a long diagonal into the box, but Fulton was quick to gather.
But for that Celtic didn’t look like adding to their lead. Accies’ best hope was to get good dead ball deliveries up to the two strikers, but we couldn’t make those few opportunities pay. There was one opening, Hakeem Odoffin, almost on the end of a McMann corner on 74 minutes, but Celtic managed to scramble off the goal line.
Celtic seemed content to see out a routine three points. Accies thoughts turned to a big match in midweek, Ogkmpoe coming off, and Scott Martin getting his first game time since injury before Christmas.
Celtic: Bain, Taylor, Duffy, Bitton, Griffiths (Ajeti, 68 ), Soro, Turnbull (Christie, 68 ), Edouard (Rogic, 85), Elyounoussi, Ajer, McGregor; Subs Unused: Barkas, Klimala, Johnston, Ralston, Welsh, Laxalt
Goals: Griffiths, 11, Edouard, 47
Accies: Fulton, Odoffin, McMann, Stirling (Winter, 73), Easton (c) , Hamilton, A Martin, Moyo, Hodson, Ogkmpoe (S Martin, 55), Callachan (Mimnaugh, 85); Subs Unused: Gourlay, Collar, Trafford, Stanger, Munro, C Smith
Referee: Colin Steven; Assistants: Frankie Connor & Calum Spence; 4th Official: Alan Muir