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Adam Matthews looking for Celtic to reach league summit

Hamilton 0-2 Celtic

On target: Celtic’s Adam Matthews celebrates his goal with team-mate Scott Brown
On target: Celtic’s Adam Matthews celebrates his goal with team-mate Scott Brown

By Ronnie Esplin

Adam Matthews is looking for Celtic to leapfrog Scottish Premiership leaders Aberdeen when the Hoops host Motherwell on Wednesday night.

The Wales defender's wonderful first-half strike against Hamilton at New Douglas Park on Saturday sent the visitors on their way to a convincing 2-0 win, with 18-year-old midfielder Liam Henderson grabbing the other goal after the break.

Later in the afternoon, the Dons fought back from 3-1 down at home to Dundee to draw 3-3 but are now only two points ahead of the champions, who have two games in hand, the first of which comes on Wednesday.

"The first 60 minutes was one of the best we have played all season, and especially in the first half. We caused them a lot of problems and could have scored a lot of goals," Matthews said.

"But we scored two good goals and we're happy with the three points and now we will be looking to kick on against Motherwell on Wednesday. All we could do was apply the pressure and that's what we have done, not just with the result but the performance as well."

Matthews insisted that his strike from inside the box, which gave Accies keeper Michael McGovern no chance, was simply as a result of him following captain's orders.

After picking up a pass from Kris Commons, the full-back heard Scott Brown urging him to have a go and he was delighted with his first goal in 18 months, although he claims three points were more important.

"It was good build-up play," he said.

"Kris Commons played a good ball to me, and after I took my first touch, Browny shouted, 'shoot', so I didn't think twice and luckily for me it went into the top corner.

"It was a nice strike but the most important thing was winning the game."

Matthews noted that Henderson turned in another impressive performance for the Hoops following his assured display against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park at the start of the month.

"Liam has been brilliant for us," said Matthews.

"Even last season, you could see how good a player he is, when he played a few games.

"He has showed that in training this season, at Kilmarnock with the way he played and then against Hamilton with his goal."

Hamilton's player/interim coach Martin Canning left himself out for his first game in charge, the 3-2 defeat against Dundee United last Monday, and explained why be brought himself back into the side against Celtic.

He said: "I felt I was more focused to play the game.

"Obviously last week there was a lot going on. But I trained well and big Jesus (Garcia Tena) has been struggling a bit with his quad.

"I am suspended for the Partick Thistle game on Wednesday night and I felt it wasn't worth taking a risk on him."

Belfast Telegraph


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