James Forrest keeps up scoring run as Celtic preserve 100% record
New loan signing Mohamed Elyounoussi makes early contribution with assist
Celtic’s James Forrest scores his side’s goal in the Scottish Premiership match against Hamilton at New Douglas Park. Photograph: Jeff Holmes/PA Wire
Hamilton 0 Celtic 1
Mohamed Elyounoussi set up the only goal less than four minutes into his Celtic career as the champions consolidated their lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership with a 1-0 win at Hamilton.
The loan signing from Southampton sent in a low cross which James Forrest converted for his seventh goal in nine Celtic games.
The early goal was the only major incident in a completely one-sided opening period but Celtic’s failure to capitalise on their dominance allowed Hamilton to make a game of it after half-time.
However, the hosts could not trouble goalkeeper Fraser Forster and Celtic survived a late scare to see out their fifth consecutive league win this season.
Former Molde and Basel winger Elyounoussi was handed the left-wing berth in the absence of the injured Mikey Johnston and he had a decent effort blocked before his assist.
Odsonne Edouard’s deft touch sent Elyounoussi ahead of the Hamilton defence and he drove in a left-footed cross which Forrest side-footed home from six yards.
The debutant was joined in the starting line-up by his Norway team-mate Kristoffer Ajer, who recovered from a groin problem to replace the injured Nir Bitton in the only other change to the team that beat Rangers at Ibrox.
Celtic controlled the first half without regularly cutting through the packed Accies defence, and Markus Fjortoft was booked for pulling down Edouard when it looked like Celtic had broken through just before the break.
Forrest came close to a second just after the break when he worked space to shoot from 16 yards. Owain Fon Williams got a fingertip to the ball and it bounced off the underside of the crossbar and out.
Hamilton brought on Marios Ogkmpoe for George Oakley in the 53rd minute and the striker’s physical presence helped the hosts get a foothold in the game, with Lewis Smith beginning to get on the ball and bring team-mates into play.
After Hamilton forced a couple of set pieces which came to nothing, head coach Brian Rice changed formation by bringing on new midfielder Adrian Beck for centre back Fjortoft and moving to flat back four.
Blair Alston and Ogkmpoe soon burst through on the edge of the box but were off target with their shots.
Celtic had brought on Tom Rogic in place of Elyounoussi for the Australian’s first appearance of the season following a knee injury, and Vakoun Bayo replaced Edouard as Neil Lennon tried to inject some life into his team.
Ryan Christie sent a first-time strike over from 20 yards and Bayo had a header saved as Celtic looked for a second but they had a close call deep into five minutes of stoppage time when Ogkmpoe was inches away from connecting with Scott McMann’s cross.