Celtic stretched their lead at the top of the Premiership to seven points on Sunday after coming from behind to defeat Hamilton 4-1 at New Douglas Park.
While the final score may seem emphatic, it was far from a comfortable afternoon for the Hoops. Indeed, it was the home side who struck first as Marios Ogkmpoe headed them into a 26th-minute lead before Odsonne Edouard equalised following a red card for Jim Hamilton. It took Celtic until the 78th minute to edge themselves in front against 10 men, with Christopher Jullien on target, before late goals from Edouard and James Forrest gave the final score a flattering look. [via Sky Sports]
Another positive for Neil Lennon’s side on Sunday was the return to action of Ryan Christie, who made an impact on his first appearance of 2020. The 24-year-old had last featured in the defeat to Rangers at the end of December, during which an incident with Alfredo Morelos led to a two-game suspension from the Scottish FA (as per Sky Sports).
The attacking midfielder also underwent groin surgery last month and was not included in Lennon’s starting line-up against Hamilton, although he seemed rather keen to make up for lost time upon his 62nd-minute introduction in place of Olivier Ntcham.
Celtic dominated the second half but were level at 1-1 at the time of Christie’s introduction, although the 24-year-old proved key to the Hoops eventually edging ahead in the final quarter-hour. After being picked out on the left flank by Jonny Hayes, he delivered a pinpoint ball for Jullien to volley to the net and instigate a late scoring flurry from the visitors. That was Christie’s 14th assist of the season and, along with his 17 goals, it further enhanced his vastly improved tally of goal involvements – he had a combined 20 goals and assists for the whole of last term.
While Edouard may have pulled further clear at the top of Celtic’s scoring charts with his brace at New Douglas Park, the impact of the 24-year-old off the bench did not go entirely unnoticed. Amy Canavan of Read Celtic felt that he was a “great addition” after coming on, while 67hailhail.com writer David Walton said that he “injected some energy at a period in the game when we desperately needed it”.
Christie had endured a frustrating start to 2020 between his suspension and groin surgery but he showed in his 28-minute appearance against Hamilton that he can be trusted to make an impact for Celtic whenever called upon. Having marked his return to action by setting up the goal that tipped the game in favour of the Hoops, Lennon could well decide to reward him by restoring him to the starting line-up for Wednesday’s trip to Motherwell.
Celtic fans, were you pleased with the impact that Christie made off the bench against Hamilton? Do you think he will start on Wednesday night now that he is back in action? Join in the discussion by commenting below!
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