Hamilton were handed a learning curve in their opening day match as Celtic swept past them 5-1 at Parkhead.
A turbulent opening 33 minutes had the game welcome its first three goals. Odsonne Edouard and Jeremie Frimpong both knocked in Greg Taylor crosses from the left before Scott Martin’s fortuitous effort beat Scott Bain to give Brian Rice’s side hope. Two Edouard goals in eight minutes after the restart gave Celtic a 4-1 lead and a hat-trick for the Frenchman. Patryk Klimala finished things with a cool effort.
Accies headed into this game with a very young starting XI. Against a relentless Celtic side, it was going to be a tough ask for Rice’s youthful side.
Despite their tender years, it was the visitors causing trouble in the opening 15. They had a few corners before David Moyo glanced a header wide, flashing past the post from only a few yards out.
Celtic punished Accies for not taking their early openings. A driving run from Frimpong had the ball out left at Taylor’s feet, before Edouard opened his 20/21 account with a tap-in after 20 minutes. Shaun Want showed Accies weren’t out yet, flashing another header from a corner over the bar just moments after Celtic’s opener.
On the half-hour mark the game looked finished. Again Taylor was afforded space and the Celtic left-back swung another good ball into the box, tapped home this time by Frimpong. But just three minutes later and Hamilton had a lifeline. Martin had the ball bounce out to him on the edge of the box and his shot ricocheted off Callum McGregor and Christopher Julien to give Accies hope in the second half.
Hope was extinguished four minutes into the second half. James Forrest got down the line and another cross was converted into the net, Edouard on hand to give himself two on the day and flatten Accies’ comeback hopes. He had his hat-trick just four minutes later, converting a loose ball into the top corner after Ryan Fulton made a save.
After some promising signs in the first half, Hamilton had to make sure the scoreline didn’t get properly ugly. Hakeem Odoffin had to clear off the line to prevent a fifth Hoops goal and then Fulton was called into action to deny Mohammed Elyounoussi.
The game hit a lull in the final ten minutes but there was still time for a few Celtic chances. In the end it finished 5-1 as Celtic got their fifth, Klimala getting on the outside of Jamie Hamilton to finish the game off in style for the hosts. It was a tough afternoon for the visitors and here are three things we learned.
Celtic crosses trouble Hamilton
A bombardment from the wings seemed to cost Hamilton against Celtic. Three of Celtic’s five goals came directly from crosses into the box, two from the left via Greg Taylor and one on the right via James Forrest.
The home side utilised this to its full extent as Hamilton struggled to deal with movement in and around the area. The Champions were always going to be technically better than their opponents and they punished Accies in the 18-yard box.
Young Accies side
The oldest player in the Hamilton lineup at Celtic park was 26. There was little experience in the Hamilton XI, not ideal when facing the Scotland’s best. That inexperience showed at times with some of the mistakes Accies made.
Simple things like not closing down quite as quick or diving into tackles a bit too hastily were all things Celtic were allowed to exploit. Results like this one won’t define Accies season but they need to make sure a heavy opening day defeat doesn’t dampen their confidence too much this early on in the campaign. They did show promise in flashes.
Academy bearing fruit
Much has been said about the work of the Accies youth academy. At Celtic Park, it’s products were on full display, with six of the starting XI bred in the South Lanarkshire academy. It’s an incredible feat that is testament to the work done by George Cairns and others behind the scenes in Hamilton.
It wasn’t to be for them against the Hoops but the experience, albeit a harsh one, of facing Celtic will do young players like Andy Winter and Jamie Hamilton the world of good moving forward.