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  • Magical Moussa downs Accies as Celtic march on

    Magical Moussa downs Accies as Celtic march on

    By: Mark Henderson on 25 Feb, 2017 17:04

  • Scottish Premiership
    Celtic Park, Glasgow
    Saturday, February 2, 2016

    (Dembele 45, 60)


    MOUSSA Dembele moved on to 29 goals for the campaign after his deadly double put Hamilton Accies to the sword in Paradise to extend Celtic’s domestic unbeaten run to 32 matches.

    The prolific striker fired the Hoops ahead on the stroke of half-time with a sublime solo goal that was arguably his best of the season so far.

    And he ensured the champions would clock up their 21st successive league victory on the hour mark when he converted from the spot after the outstanding Kieran Tierney had been fouled in the box by Massimo Donati.

    Brendan Rodgers’ side now go into Wednesday night’s game away to Inverness Caley Thistle still in possession of their commanding 24-point lead at the top of the table as they close in on their sixth successive title.  

    Stuart Armstrong made his first Celtic start in a month after returning from a four-week injury absence in last Saturday’s 2-0 win over Motherwell. His inclusion in the starting XI was one of three changes to the team that beat the Steelmen seven days ago, with Cristian Gamboa and Erik Sviatchenko also restored to the side. Mikael Lustig, Jozo Simunovic and Liam Henderson dropped out.

    Inside the first 10 minutes, Brendan Rodgers was forced to make an enforced change as James Forrest departed from the fray after after a reckless challenge from Danny Redmond near the touchline. He was replaced by Gary Mackay-Steven.

    Prior to that, the Hoops had made a lively start, with Kieran Tierney lashing a dangerous ball across goal that had no takers. It was the left-back who was the most threatening outlet for the champions as he constantly bombed forward against the defensively-minded visitors, operating as an auxiliary winger.

    Time and time again, his desire and work-rate saw him find promising positions near the box and he was next try his luck after Armstrong had rolled the ball into his path but his 25-yard drive flew wide.

    Scott Sinclair rifled a shot over from distance as the champions continued to search for a way through the massed ranks of Hamilton players.

    The Lanarkshire side had shown limited ambition but they emerged from their defensive shell in the 27th minute to launch a counter-attack which culminated in Dougie Imrie shooting wide.

    Just past the half-hour mark, Celtic should have made the breakthrough. Tierney and Sinclair linked up down the left and when the former drilled the ball across the six-yard box, Armstrong had an open goal but he could only hit the bar.
    When Armstrong curled wide a shot minute before the break after being teed-up Nir Bitton’s flick, it looked like Celtic would have nothing to show for their dominance at half-time.

    Step forward Dembele. Collecting possession with his back to goal at the edge of the box, there looked little on but the 20-year-old jinked past Massimo Donati before finding the top corner with a sensational finish.

    Dembele came close to doubling his and the Hoops’ tally early in the second period when, following tremendous industry from Armstrong, he met Tierney’s cutback at the near post but saw his first-time attempt deflected wide. He wouldn’t be denied for long, however, and Tierney was the provider.

    Driving into the box from the left on yet another enterprising run, he was sent tumbling by Donati and referee Crawford Allan immediately pointed to the spot. Dembele took responsibility, coolly sweeping the ball down the middle as Woods dived to his right.

    After that, the hosts never looked in danger of losing their grip on the points, with Craig Gordon only called into serious action deep into stoppage time when he tipped substitute Eamonn Brophy’s header over the bar.

    Most of the action continued at the other end as Mackay-Steven and Armstrong tried their luck, while Sinclair had a penalty shout turned down in another dominant display from Brendan Rodgers’ side.

    CELTIC (4-3-3) Gordon; Gamboa, Boyata, Sviatchenko, Tierney; Armstrong (McGregor 85), Bitton, Brown; Forrest (Mackay-Steven 9), Dembele (Griffiths 72), Sinclair
    Not Used: De Vries, Toure, Izaguirre, Henderson

    HAMILTON (3-5-2) Woods; Devlin, Donati, McMann; Skondras, McKinnon, Gillespie, Redmond (Kurtaj 69), Imrie; Bingham (Brophy 75), Boyd (Docherty 64)
    Not Used: Matthews, Seaborne, Watson, Adams

    Website Man of the Match: Kieran Tierney


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