‘We are six points clear as we speak. That’s all the players can do,’ Lenny Piles on the Pressure

JAMES FORREST sent Celtic six points clear of nearest challengers the Rangers as the Champions made it five wins from five league games at Hamilton this afternoon.

Neil Lennon gave a debut to Norwegian winger Elyounoussi and in the three minutes Mohamed almost scored with a volley then he set up James Forrest for the opening goal of the game. The Scotland winger is well used to scoring important goals and this one certainly falls into that category, although most thought that this was a signal to open the floodgates. It certainly looked that way with Celtic, still on a high after the Beautiful Sunday win at Ibrox, rampant.

Celtic started strongly but as the game went on the performance deteriorated and the final whistle after 95 or so minutes was a great relief to the fans at the game and those watching on television.

Forrest rattled the bar in the second half, with the Hamilton keeper getting his finger tips to it to deny the Celtic wide man a second and that would have settled the team.

Players like Elhamed, Jullien, Bolingoli and Elyounoussi must have been wondering what the hell this strange surface was that they were playing on. The ball continually got caught beneath players feet and the thoughts of our former manager, who reckoned that he’d never seen a decent game on these plastic pitches, certainly rang true for this particular match.

Hamilton had five at the back, including Alan Stubbs’ boy, and really offered nothing in attack. Fraser Forster had one or two run of the mill saves to make in the second half but could have had the deck-chair out in the first period.

There were a few injury concerns – again as there always is on these plastic surfaces – with Kris Ajer perhaps the most worrying. Christopher Jullien also received treatment for several minutes after a clash of heads, with the Frenchman having a minute or so blackout.

Neil Lennon said he was absolutely thrilled with the win and pointed out that the pitch was dry and the wind was a problem too. He was able to withdraw both Odsonne Edouard and Ryan Christie with Rennes on Thursday and also Elyounoussi who can be pleased with his debut.

“It was good, we dominated the game. I think that in the first half some of our football was outstanding on a difficult pitch, in difficult conditions and it’ a brilliant win,” the Celtic manager said in his post match analysis.

“That’s five wins out of five and a third clean sheet and I’m so delighted with the players.

“It wasn’t easy out there, there was a lot of wind and the pitch is very dry. We hit the bar, we had good build up play at times our final ball let us down but overall we’re playing brilliantly and I’m absolutely thrilled with that win.

Asked about winning first 5 from 5, something not even The Invincibles achieved, the Celtic manager said: “It shows how difficult it can be. Part of our motivation going into the game was to set our stall out.

“We are six points clear as we speak. That’s all the players can do, they can’t do any more and while we want to play free flowing football and score loads of goals sometimes you can’t always do that.

“I don’t think we won the game ugly by any means. I don’t think that Fraser had a save to make. We just wanted a second goal to put a gloss on things.”

Man of the Match was given to Bolingoli by the broadcasters’ pundits, however we’d certainly disagree with that call as James Forrest scored the only goal, rattled the bar and looked the most comfortable on that horrible surface.

We’ll not remember this game for too fondly but it’s days like this that go a long way to winning league titles. You get three points for winning at Ibrox and the same for winning at Hamilton.

And now the pressure is on elsewhere. Enjoy your weekend folks.


Lustig on Emptying Ibrox and his return to Celtic to say Proper Goodbyes…see HERE.

‘He’s been absolutely superb,’ Lenny confirms new deal planned for Nir Bitton…see HERE.

Resolution 12 – Dramatic Returns at Hamilton v Celtic Match, Shareholder Signatures in Bus Park…see HERE.

Ibrox Shock as Director of Football Resigns, looks like a Major Boost for Celtic…see HERE.

Good and Bad News – Ajer and Rogic’s both fit but Bitton’s out for 3 weeks and Jozo’s seeing a specialist…see HERE.

Sir Paul McCartney’s Brexit Back-stop Buster, Celtic mad Sir Rod Stewart, Johnny Mac and the Faithful…see HERE.

New Deal for Edouard as Broony reveals how French striker Spooked the Rangers…see HERE.

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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