Monday 23 July 2018

Griffiths puts Celtic one win away from seventh heaven

Hamilton 1 Celtic 2

Celtic's Leigh Griffiths. Photo: Jane Barlow/PA Wire
Celtic's Leigh Griffiths. Photo: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Roddy Forsyth

Celtic are now within one victory of a seventh successive Scottish title, courtesy of their domination of a drab contest.

The champions looked wholly untroubled throughout their outing, even when Kris Ajer was ambushed against the run of play by Rakish Bingham for Hamilton's goal.

Although the home team's name is derived from a venerable educational institution, Martin Canning's players were impervious to learning.

Having survived an alarm within seconds of the start, Hamilton were still dozing when Callum McGregor put Celtic ahead in the third minute and they failed to take heed of that example at the beginning of the second half, when Leigh Griffiths netted Celtic's second with his first touch as a substitute.

Between times, Darren Lyon delivered a masterclass in heedlessness when he was cautioned for an agricultural challenge on Kieran Tierney and then fouled the same player a minute later to the same effect, thus depriving his team-mates of almost any chance to eke reward from the afternoon.

foolish Andrew Dallas might have exercised discretion and taken the view that the encounter between the pair was a case of six and half-a-dozen, but Lyon was foolish to have presented him with the option.

Celtic's manager Brendan Rodgers. Photo: Jane Barlow/PA Wire
Celtic's manager Brendan Rodgers. Photo: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Celtic will now have a break from league business as they meet Rangers in their Scottish Cup at Hampden Park next Sunday and it was with an eye on the Old Firm showdown that Brendan Rodgers deployed his squad strength.

With Celtic now 13 points clear of Rangers and Aberdeen, they could wrap up the title by winning their first game after the split.

The fixture planners are unlikely to make that Rangers, which irks Rodgers.

"I think it's sad for Scottish football and it's sad for society in Scotland," said the Celtic boss.

Hamilton's Shaun Want (left) and Celtic's Scott Sinclair. Photo: Jane Barlow/PA Wire
Hamilton's Shaun Want (left) and Celtic's Scott Sinclair. Photo: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

"In probably any other country in the world, they would look to play the game and showcase your football and country on telly - whether it was Real Madrid v Barcelona, Manchester United v Manchester City or AC Milan v Inter.

"But for some reason we can't do that here which is a sad indictment of the world that it is here at times."

On a lighter note, yesterday's interval entertainment included a rendition of the theme from The Flintstones - a musical choice explained by the announcer as dedication to Neil Lennon, who had described Hamilton's tackling as 'caveman' in style - all the way back in November. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport