Hamilton 0 - 3 Celtic: Ten-man Celtic ease to victory

Celtic's Leigh Griffiths celebrates opening the scoring versus Hamilton at New Douglas Park. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS
Celtic's Leigh Griffiths celebrates opening the scoring versus Hamilton at New Douglas Park. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS
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Celtic’s march to the Ladbrokes Premiership title continued apace with a 3-0 win over Hamilton despite playing most of the second half with 10 men.

Manager Brendan Rodgers had said he had never witnessed a good game on an artificial surface, which awaited his side at the SuperSeal Stadium on a wet, windy and generally miserable day in Lanarkshire.

But Rodgers was happy to see returning striker Leigh Griffiths open the scoring four minutes from the break with his 13th goal of the season.

Midfielder Callum McGregor was sent packing by referee Willie Collum in the 47th minute for picking up the second of two bookings for a foul on Scott McMann before Stuart Armstrong drove in a glorious second from distance and Moussa Dembele, on for Griffiths at the start of the second half, fired in a third.

The champions extended their domestic unbeaten run to 22 games and remain 14 points clear of Rangers at the top with a game in hand over the Ibrox men.

Hamilton, who had lost 1-0 at Celtic Park less than two weeks ago, held their own in the first half but Armstrong’s impressive strike effectively finished them off with the third goal simply angering the Accies support who booed and jeered boss Martin Canning at the final whistle.

Griffiths was one of four changes in the Celtic starting line-up with Armstrong and defenders Emilio Izaguirre and Erik Sviatchenko also coming in.

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With less than four minutes played Sviatchenko got on the end of a corner from the Scotland striker to send a header powering towards goal but Accies striker Rakish Bingham headed against the crossbar before the danger was cleared.

From another Griffiths corner in the 12th minute, former Celt Massimo Donati almost put the ball into his own net in his attempt to clear but was helped by Accies keeper Gary Woods who made a fine reactive save before the ball was again scrambled clear.

The home side enjoyed their share of possession in conditions that made it difficult for both sets of players but put little real pressure on Celtic keeper Craig Gordon, who dealt comfortably with Dougie Imrie’s 20-yard drive in the 35th minute to end a swift Accies counter-attack.

It was with a Parkhead counter that Griffiths opened the scoring.

The Celtic striker latched on to a McGregor through ball after Hamilton defender Georgios Sarris kicked fresh air in his attempt to cut the pass out, before steering his left-footed shot past Woods.

Two minutes after the restart the champions were reduced to 10 men when McGregor, booked in the first half for a foul on midfielder Darian MacKinnon, was adjudged by Collum to have clattered McMann on the touchline - it did look as if the Parkhead player tried to pull out - and was despatched up the tunnel, with midfielder Nir Bitton soon replacing winger Patrick Roberts as the away side reshuffled.

Any prospect of a Hamilton comeback, however, ended in the 54th minute when Armstrong almost casually rifled a drive from 25 yards which sped past Woods on its way to the top corner.

Gordon did make a decent save from a Louis Longridge strike, Donati headed over an Ali Crawford free-kick and the Scotland keeper foiled a close-range effort from substitute Eamonn Brophy, on for Danny Redmond.

However, following a well-worked Celtic move Dembele converted a cut-back from substitute James Forrest, on for Scott Sinclair, to clinch the points.

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