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Watch: Drilled Griffiths free-kick helps Celtic to victory at Hamilton

 

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Celtic's Leigh Griffiths netted his side's third goals at Hamilton.

Celtic's Leigh Griffiths netted his side's third goals at Hamilton.

PA

Celtic's Leigh Griffiths netted his side's third goals at Hamilton.

Celtic returned from the international break to coast to a 3-0 Ladbrokes Premiership win over Hamilton at the Hope CBD stadium.

Midfielder Ryan Christie swept in the opener in the 13th minute to give the visitors the interval lead which belied their superiority.

When Accies midfielder Scott Martin's leg helped a Scott Sinclair header into his own net in the 66th minute the points were secured, leaving Leigh Griffiths to come off the bench and drill in a third from a free-kick.

 

Brendan Rodgers' side will now turn to Rosenborg in Trondheim on Thursday night where they will look for the win to keep Europa League Group B hopes alive, before they face Aberdeen in the Betfred Cup final at Hampden Park next Sunday afternoon.

They will know they will be tested more in both games than they were in Lanarkshire where the gulf in class between the two sides was evident all afternoon.

Celtic, with keeper Craig Gordon, defender Filip Benkovic and midfielder Olivier Ntcham back in the side, dominated the game from the first whistle.

There was an early shout for a Celtic penalty when French striker Odsonne Edouard's cross from near the byline struck the arm of Matt Kilgallon as the Accies defender tried to get off the ground inside the penalty area, but referee Don Robertson was unimpressed.

Moments later, Christie drove wide of the target from the edge of the Hamilton box and it was all very comfortable for the fluid and inventive visitors.

The first goal came from a well-worked corner, midfielder Callum McGregor playing a one-two with Edouard before cutting the ball back for Christie to sweep the ball high past Accies keeper Gary Woods from 10 yards for his fourth goal of the season.

In the 28th minute the Hamilton rearguard was sliced open by Ntcham's incisive throughball but Woods blocked Sinclair's all-too-casual finish for a corner which came to nothing.

The champions kept probing while Accies kept chasing.

In the 35th minute Edouard's deflected drive from inside the box missed the Hamilton goal by inches and then Hamilton defender Ziggy Gordon blocked a Mikael Lustig strike which was on its way towards goal with Sinclair blazing the loose ball over.

The narrow one-goal deficit was Accies' saving grace at the interval but Ntcham came close to doubling Celtic's lead with a right-footed drive from 14 yards which hit the side netting.

The game drifted through the hour-mark and onwards until Lustig's cross from the right was headed goalwards by Sinclair from 12 yards with Martin inadvertently redirecting the ball past Woods.

Rodgers soon replaced Edouard with Griffiths for his first appearance since October 7 and he fired in a free-kick from 20 yards after Martin had hauled down Sinclair to seal a commanding win for the Parkhead side, who came close to adding a fourth when Christie's deflected strike hit the post in added time.

Belfast Telegraph