Here’s Neil Lennon
“I’m delighted – it’s a fantastic start to the season. We were a little bit passive for my liking in the first half, but in the second half we showed what we’re about: real pace and power and some really good goals. We whipped them a bit at half-time, and in the end it was a really powerful performance.
“He [Edouard] is a special talent. He’s got so much to his game but what’s pleased me in the last 12-15 months is the amount of goals and the variety of goals he’s been scoring. I liked all the goals today.
“People always talk about sending out a message – today was about winning and winning well. That’s it.”
After a slowish start, Celtic looked ominously good against an intrepid but inferior Hamilton. Their through passing and crossing was devastatingly incisive; in fact, the crosses for the first three goals were effectively through passes from a different angle.
Odsonne Edouard scored a hat-trick of close-range finishes, Jeremie Frimpong added another and the substitute Patryk Klimala forced his way onto the scoresheet in the last minute.
Full time: Celtic 5-1 Hamilton Academical
Peep peep! The champions return to action with a thumping victory.
The goal was made by Jullien, who slid a long through pass down the inside-right channel. It loooked like Hamilton had everything covered, but then Klimala appeared from nowhere to surge onto the ball, hold off Hamilton and force a precise first-time shot into the far corner. It wasn’t the most elegant finish, but it was a triumph of sheer desire.
GOAL! Celtic 5-1 Hamilton (Klimala 90)
That’s a terrific goal from the substitute Patryk Klimala!
86 min A triple substitution for Celtic: Karamoko Dembele, Hatem Abd Elhamed and Patryk Klimala replace Frimpong, Christie and the hat-trick hero Edouard.
84 min The match is starting to peter out – partly because both teams are tired, mainly because of the scoreline.
81 min Jullien almost makes it five after staying forward following a corner, but Fulton denies him with another brave save.
80 min McGregor angles a fine pass to Christie, who takes it in his stride and is about to shoot when Hamilton comes across to concede a corner.
79 min “Big statement of intent from Celtic, Rob,” says Brendan Vahey. “The well-oiled machine looks up and running.”
It was a decent statement from Rangers as well, in fairness. Celtic look so good, though, and even odds of 4/9 to win the title feel a bit long.
77 min Moyo drives wide from 25 yards. Even at 4-1 down, Hamilton are attacking with puppy-dog enthusiasm.
73 min Ogkmpoe’s shot is deflected behind – and he misses a good chance from the corner, flicking a near-post header across goal and eventually out for a throw-in.
72 min “It was a rough 21 hours between the Cup final and the start of Celtic’s season but somehow I made it through,” writes Gerry Scott. “The alterations that Lennon has made to our style since returning have made us more entertaining to watch compared to the rather sterile final six months of Brendan Rodgers. It sounds like both full backs have been playing well today. Frimpong in particular can be great fun to watch.”
Yes, he’s one for the Joy of Six: infectious footballers. Both full-backs have been superb going forward, and Taylor’s two crosses for the first-half goals were Robertsonian in their precision.
71 min A double change for Hamilton as well. Ciaran McKenna and Charlie Trafford replacing Callachan and Odoffin.
69 min Fulton makes another good save, beating away Elyounoussi’s shot. Once upon a time, Wales lost 7-1 to the Netherlands – and Neville Southall was the best player on the pitch. Fulton is having a mini-Southall today.
64 min Frimpong zips infield and plays a one-two with Forrest, whose angled return pass is quite glorious. Frimpong runs onto it and stabs a shot that is bravely saved by Fulton. The loose ball comes to McGregor, who heads it towards the Fulton-less goal. Odoffin, on the line, calmly takes it down on the chest and belts it clear.
59 min Forrest cuts infield from the left and curls a lovely shot towards the far corner that is superbly tipped behind by the diving Fulton.
57 min Ogkmpoe should have been given a second yellow card for that first touch. Had he miscontrolled it even slightly he would still have been able to get a shot in.
56 min Ogkmpoe suddenly has a chance to make it 4-2, but his first touch is a custodial offence and his second is a foul of Jullien.
55 min Ogkmpoe is booked for booting McGregor up in the air, prompting a brief exchange of views involving Scott Brown.
Celtic opened Hamilton up with a superb move: Forrest fired the ball into Elyounoussi, who stabbed it through to the onrushing Christie. He opened his body to clip a left-footed shot that was pushed out by the diving Fulton, but Edouard reacted smartly to steer the ball into the roof of the net.
GOAL! Celtic 4-1 Hamilton (Edouard 53)
It’s getting messy all right. Odsonne Edouard has completed his hat-trick!
52 min Fulton is smartly off his line to beat Edouard to a through -ball. Brian Rice must be concerned that this will get messy for his young side. They don’t deserve to suffer a heavy defeat, but football doesn’t really care for such sentiment.
It was another clean, clinical move from Celtic. Christie, just inside his own half on the right, flicked a defence-splitting pass down the line towards Forrest. He scurried onto the ball, looked up and curled a precise low cross that was finished with authority by Edouard.
GOAL! Celtic 3-1 Hamilton Academical (Edouard 49)
Ryan Fulton’s pulse rate has increased now.
48 min Lots of Celtic pressure at the start of the second half, though nothing to alter Ryan Fulton’s pulse rate.
Replays of Martin’s goal suggest the original shot was going wide, so it will probably go down as a Callum McGregor own goal. It hit him first and then Jullien before dribbling into the net.
Half time: Celtic 2-1 Hamilton Academical
Peep peep! Celtic deserve to be ahead, but an intrepid Hamilton contributed fully to an entertaining half of football. Two devastating crosses from Greg Taylor left Odsonne Edouard and Jeremie Frimpong with open goals, but Scott Martin – who trained with Celtic as a bairn before being released – got Hamilton back into the match with an early contender for goal of the decade. See you soon for the second half.
45+1 min Christie’s deep corner is met by another cracking volley from Jullien at the far post. This time it’s blocked by a Hamilton defender, as is his follow-up shot.
45 min Elyounoussi picks up a loose ball and hits a deflected long-range shot that is comfortably held by Fulton. One minute of added time.
44 min Celtic are zipping the ball around with increasing confidence. Hamilton look like they could do with a half-time breather.
41 min Ronan Hughes has pulled something and is going off; Marios Ogkmpoe replaces him. Look at him with four consecutive consonants in his surname, thinking he’s special.
39 min “Afternoon Rob,” says Simon McMahon. “Good to have Scottish fitba back, and on the MBM, though it felt a bit strange to be watching at home yesterday with my virtual season ticket as Dundee United unfurled the Scottish Championship flag at Tannadice prior to a 1-1 draw with St. Johnstone. I missed being there, but at least I could have a drink at the game. And didn’t need to queue for the toilets. Or pay through the nose for my half-time snacks. Or listen to umpteen terrace Messis/Klopps telling me and everybody else how it should be done. And I was home the second the full time whistle went. But as I said, I missed being there.”
Association football: the most moreish misery around. (With the possible exception of English cricket.)