Scottish Premiership
HamiltonHamilton Academical0CelticCeltic1

Hamilton Academical 0-1 Celtic: Early Forrest strike edges out hosts

By Martin WattBBC Scotland

Scottish Premiership leaders Celtic toiled to a slender win over stubborn Hamilton Academical to maintain their 100% start.

James Forrest converted debutant Mohamed Elyounoussi's cross early in a first half dominated by the visitors.

Scotland winger Forrest crashed a shot off the crossbar after the break, but Hamilton grew in belief and intent.

They made life increasingly difficult for the champions and had a couple of half chances - but Celtic held firm.

The fifth straight league victory is Celtic's best top-flight start since Neil Lennon's previous stint in charge in 2010 and keeps them three points clear of second-placed Rangers.

Hamilton, who have now lost the past 10 meetings with Celtic, sit eighth with four points.

From a landslide to a trickle

Accies manager Brian Rice hoped for strength in numbers by barricading his backline with five defenders, who were protected by a layer of four midfielders, while George Oakley was handed a lonely shift up top on his own.

The attempt to stonewall Celtic lasted less than four minutes, though, as the champions chiselled a way through. A neat Odsonne Edouard lay-off set Elyounoussi free down the left and his low cross was expertly tucked home at the near post by Forrest - his seventh goal of a productive season so far.

But what looked like a landslide soon turned into a trickle as Celtic failed to cement their superiority with further goals.

Like his team, Elyounoussi - a £17m winger on loan from Southampton - began impressively then lost his way.

Despite possession stats of 73% in favour of the visitors, home keeper Owain Fon Williams' gloves went untouched until he produced a terrific save to tip Forrest's thudding left-foot drive on to the underside of his bar and away to safety.

James Forrest

The one-touch passing and combination play from Lennon's men, who were so impressive in their Old Firm win at Rangers before the international break, was easy on the eye but relatively simple to repel as Hamilton kept themselves in the game.

The hosts were in nosebleed territory when Blair Alston mustered their first shot at goal just shy of the 40-minute mark, the midfielder's hooked drive over his shoulder landing straight in Fraser Forster's arms.

But they improved markedly in the second half, fraying Celtic nerves with a series of raids forward. Alex Gogic nodded wastefully wide inside the box when a free-kick was floated on to his head and Alston was only a couple of yards too high with an effort from the edge of the box after a surging run from Adrian Beck, on for his debut.

Marios Ogkmpoe also dragged wide from an angle, while Celtic substitute Vakoun Bayo flashed a header straight at Fon Williams.

Celtic were made to sweat until 20 seconds from the end of added time, when Ogkmpoe narrowly failed to connect with Scott McMann's driven ball across goal, but ultimately Accies' spadework was all in vain.

Man of the match - Alex Gogic

BBC Scotland's John Barnes at the Fountain of Youth Stadium

There was a queue of contenders in a first-half Celtic display full of slick passing. Forrest and Ryan Christie were the most prominent but they and their team-mates failed to maintain the tempo and dominance.

That was down to Accies imposing themselves more on the game. The influence of Gogic in the holding role in central midfield caught they eye, as did the youthful exuberance of Lewis Smith.

But being the cushion in front of his central defenders, breaking up play and trying to get Accies moving forward, was enough for Gogic to get the nod.

Line-ups

Hamilton

  • 1Fon Williams
  • 21WantSubstituted forMcKennaat 78'minutes
  • 5FjørtoftBooked at 45minsSubstituted forBeckat 70'minutes
  • 24Easton
  • 26Stubbs
  • 3McMann
  • 10Alston
  • 13GogicBooked at 84mins
  • 28Smith
  • 7Collar
  • 9OakleySubstituted forOgkmpoeat 53'minutes

Substitutes

  • 4McKenna
  • 14Cunningham
  • 17Beck
  • 18MacKinnon
  • 20Moyo
  • 31Southwood
  • 99Ogkmpoe

Celtic

  • 67Forster
  • 33Elhamed
  • 2Jullien
  • 35Ajer
  • 23Bolingoli-Mbombo
  • 8Brown
  • 42McGregor
  • 49Forrest
  • 17ChristieSubstituted forHayesat 90+2'minutes
  • 27ElyounoussiSubstituted forRogicat 67'minutes
  • 22EdouardSubstituted forBayoat 78'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Gordon
  • 9Griffiths
  • 10Bayo
  • 13Bauer
  • 15Hayes
  • 18Rogic
  • 21Ntcham
Referee:
Don Robertson
Attendance:
5,300

Match Stats

Home TeamHamiltonAway TeamCeltic
Possession
Home26%
Away74%
Shots
Home3
Away13
Shots on Target
Home0
Away3
Corners
Home1
Away4
Fouls
Home18
Away10

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Hamilton Academical 0, Celtic 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Hamilton Academical 0, Celtic 1.

  3. Substitution

    Substitution, Celtic. Jonny Hayes replaces Ryan Christie.

  4. Post update

    Attempt saved. Vakoun Issouf Bayo (Celtic) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Ryan Christie with a cross.

  5. Post update

    Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Lewis Smith.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo (Celtic).

  7. Post update

    Blair Alston (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  8. Booking

    Alexander Gogic (Hamilton Academical) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  9. Post update

    Tomas Rogic (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Alexander Gogic (Hamilton Academical).

  11. Post update

    Hand ball by Ryan Christie (Celtic).

  12. Substitution

    Substitution, Hamilton Academical. Ciaran McKenna replaces Shaun Want.

  13. Substitution

    Substitution, Celtic. Vakoun Issouf Bayo replaces Odsonne Edouard.

  14. Post update

    Attempt missed. Ryan Christie (Celtic) left footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo.

  15. Post update

    Tomas Rogic (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Alexander Gogic (Hamilton Academical).

  17. Post update

    Attempt missed. Marios Ogkmpoe (Hamilton Academical) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Blair Alston.

  18. Post update

    Corner, Hamilton Academical. Conceded by Christopher Jullien.

  19. Post update

    Attempt missed. Blair Alston (Hamilton Academical) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

  20. Substitution

    Substitution, Hamilton Academical. Adrian Beck replaces Markus Fjørtoft.

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