Hamilton 1-4 Celtic: Neil Lennon enjoys side's 'buffer' at top

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Lennon 'knew floodgates would open' after Celtic's second

Celtic manager Neil Lennon is happy to have opened a "decent-sized gap" at the top of the Scottish Premiership after beating 10-man Hamilton Academical.

The champions now lead Rangers by seven points after coming from behind to win 4-1 with three late goals.

Marios Ogkmpoe gave the hosts the lead but, after Jamie Hamilton's red card, Odsonne Eduard (2), Christopher Jullien and James Forrest secured the win.

"Psychologically, it's good," said Lennon.

"I'm thinking it's four rather than seven as I'm assuming the opposition will win their game in hand. It's the first buffer for a while."

Ogkmpoe headed Accies in front, but the league's bottom side then had Hamilton sent off for a last-man tug on Leigh Griffiths and Edouard levelled from the resulting free-kick.

Celtic dominated the second half but had to wait until the 78th minute for Jullien to volley them in front, while Edouard and Forrest added two more.

"The momentum we've built at the start of year has been fantastic," said Lennon after a 10th successive domestic away win. "It's opened up a decent-sized gap.

"We had to be patient. We had to be concentrated. We didn't play well in the first half, then we get the red card and free kick and that puts us in the ascendency.

"But it was still very difficult to break Hamilton down. They defended for their lives. They did a great job but we knew they would tire.

"The subs [Ryan Christie, Jonny Hayes and Tom Rogic] made a big difference. They gave us that extra impetus, that creative spark."

Craig Gordon was not in the Celtic squad after the club refused to entertain an approach from Hearts for the veteran Scotland goalkeeper.

The 37-year-old is out of contract in the summer and was understood to be keen on a return to Tynecastle, where he started his career, in a bid to revive his international prospects.

"He's had a sore knee for the last couple of the days," explained Lennon before kick-off. "We won't take any chances.

"I know his motivations for wanting to go out and play, but Craig is certainly good enough to be in the Scotland squad. He's a superb professional and you may see him as the season goes on."

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