Post match comments from Martin Canning and Massimo Donati after last night’s game against Celtic.
Celtic v Hamilton Post Match Interviews, by Martin McConnell
The performance that the Hamilton defence put in at Celtic Park was like night and day in comparison with the last visit the side paid to the East End of Glasgow. Celtic still dominated the possession stats, this time by two to one. And they moved the ball and Accies players around the pitch miles better than any other side in the Ladbrokes Premiership have managed too this season.
But the only area they didn’t have almost total control, was inside the Hamilton penalty area, where the defending looked more akin to that at Rourke’s Drift at times. And apart from the one breach, by Leigh Griffiths on 35 minutes, the league champions never looked like scoring. Or maybe it’s more correct to say that Accies never looked like letting one in.
A delighted Hamilton manager, Martin Canning said shortly after the final whistle, “I thought the boys were excellent and their work rate was of a different class, and they did everything I’d asked them to do. I thought that their shape was very good and they were disciplined as you need to be able to concentrate for ninety minutes, which I thought they did. And we hoped to stay in the game long enough to make the last ten minutes uncomfortable for Celtic, giving ourselves a chance of taking something from the game.
“We were unfortunate I thought towards the end and put them under a bit of pressure, and with a couple of wee half opportunities that might have nicked us something from it. Like I say it’s a difficult place to come and it would have been nice to get something from it, but to come here and perform in that way, the boys deserve something for their efforts.”
Martin then heaped praise on the sides youngsters, especially singling out defender Scott McMann who’d started in back to back games, “When you look at Scott McMann coming in after not playing a lot, he’s a fantastic young player and hasn’t had the opportunity up until now as the squad has been doing well.
“He’s had a couple of games now and he’s doing very well. We had Docherty in there doing the same and Eamonn Brophy came on and was also excellent, and young Ross Cunningham gets on at the end as well. For what we’re trying to do here at Hamilton there’s definitely positives in terms of our young team coming through into the first team.
“The players that we’ve got there in the squad just now are reasonably strong. We’ve got a couple of injuries tonight and it gives the youngsters a chance to come in and really do themselves justice as it’s a difficult place to come and play. You’re not going to get a more intimidating place in Scotland than Parkhead, and to be able to perform when you’re here is a big thing for young players and Scott in particular was outstanding.”
On the late chance that might just have got Accies a cheeky point at the end of the match, he said, “Yes he could have given it to Ali, but Eamonn is single minded that way when he gets through, and he only see’s one thing and that’s to try and finish. That’s a great strength for a striker to have but it’s something I’ve spoken to him about.
“If he can add that little bit extra to his game and if he does see the pass at times, he’ll make it easier for himself as well, as people will sit off him a bit more and allow him space to shoot. But honestly, I can’t fault Eamonn as I thought his effort in the game was great and as I said, you’ve got a striker twenty yards from goal with a chance to score, he’s going to try and get a shot away and he did just that.”
Accies Italian midfielder and former Celt, Massimo Donati, was making his first visit back to his old haunt as a player since leaving the club back in 2009. He said of the experience, “Yes, it was a very good moment for me because it has been years since I’ve played here, as I’ve only been here to watch games since leaving Celtic. And when you’re out there on the pitch it’s good because the atmosphere is always brilliant. I spent two very good years here and was happy to start in the game, but came here tonight to do what I had to do.”
And his thoughts on the game, “Yes, we were maybe a bit unlucky but we know that they are a very good team, we had to try and take some chances for the fans and I think we did that well. We defended well and created some chances in the last twenty minutes of the second half to score as well, but it wasn’t to be. And he added, “We have another big game on Friday and we need to get some points from it, and if that performance is anything like tonight, then I think we can do it. “
When asked how the current Celtic side compared to the side that he played with between 2007 and 2009, Massimo remained diplomatic by replying, “It’s different and it’s not easy to say which side is better. When I was here as a player the side were very good and we had some fantastic players, but the current side are good as well.
“Obviously they play very well and I think they have a good manager too. “They try to play with the ball on the ground, it’s nice to watch but hard for the other team as we have to run a lot as they keep the ball very well.”