Sport Soccer

Thursday 16 August 2018

Celtic move to within one win of seventh straight league title with Hamilton victory

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers celebrates with his players at the end of the game
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers celebrates with his players at the end of the game

Ronnie Esplin

Substitute Leigh Griffiths' second-half header gave Celtic a 2-1 win at Hamilton as the Hoops moved to within one victory of their seventh successive Ladbrokes Premiership title.

Midfielder Callum McGregor fired the visitors ahead with only three minutes played before Accies striker Rakish Bingham levelled in the 18th minute.

When Hamilton midfielder Darren Lyon was sent off just before the break for picking up two bookings in a minute from referee Andrew Dallas he took with him any realistic chances of a unlikely home win.

Griffiths headed in a Scott Sinclair cross moments into the second half to take Brendan Rodgers' side 13 points clear of Rangers and Aberdeen with just five post-split games remaining.

With a nod towards Accies' artificial surface as well as the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final against the Light Blues next Sunday, Rodgers made five changes to the side which drew a blank against Dundee on Wednesday night.

Patrick Roberts, on loan from Manchester City, made his first start since the end of November.

On-loan goalkeeper Scott Bain, ineligible to face his parent club earlier in the week, was back in along with Kristoffer Ajer, Olivier Ntcham and Kieran Tierney.

Scotland Under-21 keeper Ryan Fulton started in place of injured Hamilton number one Gary Woods.

The 21-year-old was one of six changes including defenders Scott McMann and Kenny van der Weg, midfielders Ali Crawford, Ross Jenkins and Bingham.

Fulton was called into action straight from kick-off.

Defender Shaun Want's short pass back was picked up by Hoops striker Moussa Dembele but his shot was blocked by the on-rushing Hamilton keeper and the ball was eventually cleared.

However, the respite lasted only until the third minute when, with Accies pinned back in their own box, Roberts exchanged passes with McGregor who then, from the edge of the box, drilled a shot low past Fulton and in off the post.

Celtic took almost total control at little more than walking pace at times.

However, the home side levelled in simplistic fashion when Bingham bustled his way past Ajer to take a Crawford pass and guide the ball past Bain.

The goal stung the Parkhead side and they stepped up the pace for a spell.

Fulton was at full stretch to push a powerful drive from McGregor wide of the goal, in between Dembele firing two free-kicks over the bar.

Lyon's first booking in the 39th minute was for a crunching tackle on Tierney.

Moments later, after the Accies playmaker had been challenged by the Scotland international, he threw Tierney away to earn his dismissal.

Hamilton boss Martin Canning replaced Crawford with defender Georgios Sarris for the start of the second half with Rodgers withdrawing defender Jack Hendry for Griffiths, who within seconds nodded in a Sinclair delivery to restore the Parkhead side's lead.

Celtic, as expected, bossed the game thereafter.

Accies tried to battle back - Sarris headed a Danny Redmond corner wide - but the champions-elect saw out the game with ease amid a series of unsuccessful and occasionally wayward attempts at extending their lead.

Online Editors

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