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Accies 0 Celtic 3

On Christmas Eve we went down 3-0 to Celtic at The SuperSeal.

We had Grant Gillespie suspended and Greg Docherty underwent a foot operation yesterday on a broken metatarsal.

Leigh Griffiths gave Celtic the lead just before half time, then they had Calum McGregor sent off in the first minute of the second half. Stuart Armstrong doubled their lead shortly afterwards before Dembele netted a third near the end.

Reporter Martin McConnel gives his take on the proceedings

Ladbrokes Premiership
The SuperSeal Stadium
Saturday 24th December 2016 at 1230pm.
Hamilton Academical 0 Celtic 3

We suffered our third consecutive defeat, all against the Old Firm, after the Champions made it 13 straight league wins and 22 unbeaten with their 3-0 victory at a wet and windy SuperSeal Stadium. The defeat leaves Accies second from bottom, with ICT remaining at the foot of the table due to their inferior goal difference.

Celtic started strongly, an early header was cleared from the Accies goal line, before Hamilton found a presence in the game and began to give as good as they got. But despite seeing lots of ball, poor passing and decision making only lead to half chances. Woods saved from an Armstrong header, before a counter attack led to Griffiths scoring just ahead of half time.

The second half started positively for Accies if not for Celtic, when McGregor saw red after receiving a second yellow inside the opening minute of the second period. It didn’t give Accies much of an advantage though, as a great Armstrong strike put Celtic two in front. It seemed to rip the heart out of Hamilton and they never really recovered enough to threaten before Dembele made it 3-0 six minutes from time.

When asked if it was a tough match for his side, Martin Canning replied, “Yes it was, although in the first half it wasn’t tough and I thought we were very much in the game and there was nothing in it. We made a mistake right on half time again, Georgios miskicks the ball and he doesn’t make contact with it, and Leigh Griffiths then goes through and punishes us.

“The second half starts and they go down to ten men and you think, right, a wee chance to get back in. And given how tight the first half was, hopefully that extra man advantage can make a difference for us. But within a couple of minutes they’ve scored a wonder goal, and I thought the mood in the stadium changed, it galvanised them and gave them belief.”

Accies started with three changes to the side that faced Rangers, in came Massimo Donati, Louis Longridge and Rakish Bingham. Missing out was the injured Greg Docherty, suspended Grant Gillespie and Alex D’Acol. Champions Celtic made four changes, in came Izaguirre, Griffiths, Armstrong and Sviatchenko for Simunovic, Dembele, Henderson, and Miller.

With just four minutes played, the Hamilton goal was threatened when Sviatchenko got onto the end of a dangerous Griffiths corner kick and headed on goal. Fortunately Rakish Bingham was standing on the goal line and got enough of his own head onto the ball, to send it crashing off of the cross bar before being cleared to safety.

Within five minutes Accies began to find a little bit of space of their own, moving the ball nicely up field for Crawford to cross nicely in front of goal. Bingham raced in and raised his outstretched foot, missing connecting by a stud’s width. Another Griffiths corner was whipped in at the front post, Armstrong headed on goal and Woods made a great goal line save.

In contrast to the game at Celtic Park, Hamilton enjoyed a far greater share of the possession and with 30 minutes played, it was Celtic that were being made to work at the back. Accies were creating plenty of opportunities to make something happen in and around the Celtic penalty area, but all without reward due to some slack final passing or poor decision making.

On 35 minutes, Danny Redmond’s ball out wide to Longridge took five Celtic players out of action, leaving acres of room for Imrie to exploit out on the left. Longridge switched play with a ball over to Imrie who then forced a save from Craig Gordon. But that effort was in vain as Griffiths opened the scoring when he struck home from a defence splitting McGregor pasin the 41st minute.

With just a minute played of the second half, Celtic went down to ten men when McGregor went into a challenge with Scott McMann with his foot raised, taking the Accies player out on the touchline. It was his second yellow, so a red ensued. It didn’t seem to upset Celtic too much, as Armstrong soon doubled their lead when he sent a 25 yard strike soaring beyond the reach of Woods and in at the top corner in the 53rd minute

With that second goal the game slowed right down, Celtic maybe thinking they’d done enough, Accies resigned to defeat as Celtic tightened up. On the hour, Longridge shot at the near post from the edge of the penalty area, forcing Gordon to touch round the post. Brophy then headed just wide of the near post from an in swinging Crawford free kick.

They went close again when the ball was nicely moved down the left, Imrie finding Brophy with a ball to just inside the corner of the Celtic 6 yard box. The Hamilton striker got a touch, but Gordon was up to the task with a fine one handed save that denied Brophy. But at the opposite end, a Forrest bye line cut back found Dembele who then struck for Celtic’s third.

In the dying stages it could have been almost four, when a quick ball forward was deftly volleyed by Brown over the top toward Dembele. The Celtic forward took the ball up the right hand side, cutting it back for James Forrest, who struck low and wide of the back post from around twenty yards.

Accies: Woods, Devlin (c), Imrie, Redmond (Brophy 54), Crawford, Bingham (D’Acol 72), Longridge, MacKinnon, Donati, McMann, Sarris. Subs Unused: Thomson, Seaborne, Cunningham, Breslin, Hughes.
Cautions: McMann, Devlin, Donati.

Celtic: Gordon, Izaguirre, Brown, Griffiths (Dembele 45), Sinclair (Forrest 76), Gamboa, Armstrong, Lustig, Roberts (Bitton 50), Sviatchenko, McGregor. Subs Unused: de Vries, Toure, Bitton, Christie, Henderson.
Goals: Griffiths 41, Armstrong 53, Dembele 83.
Cautions: McGregor second yellow, then red.

Attendance 5003

Referee – Willie Collum Assistants – Gavin Harris & Andy Milne 4th – Kevin Graham

Att: 5003

 

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