Friday 30 September 2016

Griffiths shines in Celtic rout of Accies

Celtic 8 Hamilton 1

Published 20/01/2016 | 02:30

Celtic's Leigh Griffiths celebrates scoring their fifth goal of the game.
Photo: Jane Barlow / PA Wire
Celtic's Leigh Griffiths celebrates scoring their fifth goal of the game. Photo: Jane Barlow / PA Wire
Celtic's Leigh Griffiths and Hamilton's Lucas Photo: Lee Smith / Action Images via Reuters
Celtic celebrate their huge victory over Hamilton Photo: Jane Barlow / PA Wire

Leigh Griffiths helped himself to a hat-trick as Celtic thrashed hapless Hamilton at Parkhead to go six points clear of Aberdeen at the top of the Scottish Premiership.

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It was a spectacular first-half performance from the home side who were three goals ahead after just 10 minutes thanks to stand-in skipper Mikael Lustig, Nir Bitton and fellow midfielder Tom Rogic before in-form Griffiths notched a double before the interval.

Half-time substitute James Forrest scored eight minutes into the second-half before Griffiths grabbed his third and Celtic's seventh with Callum McGregor making it eight right at the end.

Before that Hamilton's second-half substitute Eamonn Brophy got a goal on the break as a consolation for the abject New Douglas Park side who have now gone eight games without a win and are above 11th-placed Kilmarnock on goal difference.

It was a night of trauma for the visitors. There was less than a minute played when Accies defender Anton Kurakins headed a Griffiths shot away just in front the goal line, after keeper Michael McGovern had parried an Emilio Izaguirre effort.

However, the opener was only a couple of minutes away and came when a Stuart Armstrong free-kick to the back post was headed in by the unmarked Lustig.

When Bitton, back from suspension, had time and space to arrow a wonderful drive from 30 yards high into the net, the points were safe with only the margin of victory in doubt. Accies fell three behind a minute later when a poorly-defended cross from Lustig fell to Rogic, whose returned shot from the edge of the box appeared to deflect off Hamilton stopper Michael Devlin before ending up behind McGovern.

There was soon more woe for Accies when Ali Crawford's slack pass was picked up by Gary Mackay-Steven who drove 40 yards to the Hamilton box before setting up Griffiths whose finish was typically clinical, his second from close range in the 33rd minute from a Rogic cross a lot easier.

The champions were relentless.

Allan and Forrest combined in the 53rd minute for the latter to drive in number six before Griffiths made it 7-0 when he capitalised on a mistake by Devlin to lob McGovern.

Irish Independent

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