'Lucky' Celtic close gap after Griffiths sparks recovery
Hamilton Academicals 1 Celtic 2
Leigh Griffiths scored one and set up the other as Celtic overcame a sluggish start to beat Hamilton and move to within a point of leaders Aberdeen.
Celtic fell behind after only four minutes when their defence was once again undone by a long ball, which fell to Gramoz Kurtaj and he bustled through Dedryck Boyata's challenge to strike an angled drive beyond Craig Gordon.
Both sides were careless with possession in key areas but Celtic less so and, after their awkward opening, they always looked the more likely to prevail in a ragged contest.
So it proved as Boyata made up for his earlier ineffectiveness by side-footing the equaliser home at the back post from a pin-point free-kick from Griffiths midway through the first half.
Boyata had just returned to the pitch after having gone off to change into boots more suited to the artificial surface.
Eight minutes before half-time, Griffiths put Celtic ahead when he produced a magnificent salmon leap to meet a deflected cross from Saidy Janko with a header which arced over stranded goalkeeper Michael McGovern.
Celtic manager Ronny Deila was satisfied with the result. "We started badly but, once again after a European match, we have taken three points, although we were a little bit lucky," he said.
"It was a very tough game. It was one of the days where you just have to fight for the points and get through it.
"We have played so many games lately and a lot of players are tired. I'm proud of the discipline and the character we showed to get back in the game and win.
Griffiths expressed surprise that he had won the man-of-the-match award. "I didn't think I had the best of games," he said. "We weren't at the races for 20 minutes but once we got into the game there was only going to be one winner." (© Daily Telegraph, London)