Accies media web reporter Mark Gillespie with Saturday’s details…
Saturday 26th January 2019 at 3pm
Celtic 3 Hamilton Academical 0
Goals from McGregor, Christie and Sinclair gave Celtic their ninth straight win over Accies to move the champions three points clear at the top. We remain in tenth spot, a point ahead of next week’s opponents Dundee.
Accies had put in resolute display for most of the first half, in no small thanks to the handywork of Ryan Fulton. But the two mistakes the Accies keeper did make handed Celtic both their opening goals. Manager Martin Canning says he’ll bounce back from the disappointment.
“Who’d be a goalkeeper? Ryan’s had five or six real good saves in the game, but unfortunately he gets punished for the couple of mistakes he does make.”
“He’s put his hand up for it in the changing room, but he’ll recover from this. You don’t get to his level with never having made mistakes before. He’s a top prospect, a great ‘keeper for us, and he’ll go again.”
“We knew Celtic would dominate the ball today, but I thought in terms of discipline, work ethic and concentration we did a lot of things right.”
“Tony Andreu and Boydy have had good chances in both halves. There’s positives we can take but it’s the individual errors each week that we need to cut out.”
We set out a team prepared to defend for long spells. There were three switches from midweek, as Martin, Boyd and Sowah returned to the side in place of Miller (injured), Gogic and Davies.
Celtic made two changes to their line-up, with Forrest and Burke dropping to the bench. In came Weah for his first start with Johnston also starting.
Celtic dominated the early possession and were testing Fulton’s handling inside five minutes. Ryan Christie’s corner came to McGregor on the edge of the box, with the Accies keeper adjusting his feet to tip the bouncing shot over the bar.
Two minutes later Scott Sinclair burst through the middle, but the Accies stopper stretched out another hand to tip onto the bar and over.
Accies survived the early storm, but had to make a switch on 10 minutes, with Tom Taiwo injured and replaced by Alex Gogic.
Another couple of stops from Fulton began to just frustrate the home fans. Izaguirre had an effort knocked over on 19 minutes, before Weahwas then clean through after a defensive slip, but Fulton rushed out to block.
Just as Accies thought we could see the half out, Celtic were in front on 39 minutes. Christie found McGregor on the edge of the box to get a shot away. This time Fulton fumbled, and the ball squirmed agonizingly over the line.
It was a sore one to take. Even more frustratingly we could have been level just before the interval, as McGowan teed up Andreu inside the Celtic box, but his shot drifted inches wide of Bain’s right hand post.
It became a niggly, disjointed spectacle into the second half as Celtic toiled to find a killer second goal. Accies continued to match up well to contain the threat.
Fulton was called into action on 66 minutes to block a Burke effort on the goal, with McGowan heading an Ajer effort off the line shortly later.
Celtic should really have wrapped things up on 71 minutes with Fulton caught off his line, allowing Burke to advance with the goal gaping, but the Accies defence got back to clear the danger. Fulton then tipped a Burke effort wide a minute later as we hung on by our fingertips.
But we were so close again to a leveller on 73 minutes, as Imrie played a pinpoint pass through to Boyd inside the Celtic box, but Ajer got a late foot in to smother the effort just wide of the post.
Celtic made sure of the three points on 77 minutes, as Fulton spilled a Lustig cross from the right flank, and Christie just couldn’t miss the rebound.
Lustig was again the architect as Celtic completed the scoring 10 minutes later, crossing for Sinclair to nod home number three. McGregor might have added another in injury time, his effort clipping the outside of Fulton’s bar.
Over the piece, Fulton made a numbe rof good saves, Godon defended well throughout and 17 year old Reegan Mimnaugh came on for his deserved debut.
Celtic: Bain, Lustig, Izaguirre, Ajer, Benkovic, Brown, McGregor, Christie (Bitton, 77), Johnston (Forrest, 63), Weah (Burke, 63); Subs Unused: Gordon, Simunovic, Hayes, Henderson
Accies: Fulton, McGowan, McMann, Gordon, Kilgallon, Imrie (c), Taiwo (Gogic 10), Andreu (Keatings 69), Martin, Boyd (Mimnaugh 77), Sowah; SubsUnused: Davies, Penny, Want, Marsden
Celtic Goals: McGregor, 39, Christie, 76 Sinclair, 86
Accies Cautions: Sowah, Martin, Imrie
Referee: Alan Muir Assistants: Sean Carr and Anthony Cooper 4th Official:Bobby Madden
Attendance: 58,264 (104 Accies)