Sport

Celtic close gap on Aberdeen

Celtic manager Ronny Deila celebrates after seeing his side come from behind to win
Celtic manager Ronny Deila celebrates after seeing his side come from behind to win

HAMILTON 1 CELTIC 2

Dedryck Boyata atoned for an early blunder to help Celtic close the gap on Aberdeen with a 2-1 victory over Hamilton at New Douglas Park.

Some poor defending from Boyata allowed Gramoz Kurtaj in to fire Hamilton ahead inside four minutes but the Belgian volleyed home an equaliser in the 26th minute.

And Leigh Griffiths headed a winner five minutes later to move Celtic a point behind the Premiership leaders and inflict Hamilton's first home defeat in 10 games.

Celtic had struggled in the opening quarter but largely controlled the game after their burst of goals.

Griffiths and Dougie Imrie had shots saved at either end before Accies took the lead. All it took was Ziggy Gordon's throw-in for the hosts to get beyond the Celtic defence as Kurtaj outmuscled and turned Boyata before firing into the far corner from 18 yards.

Ronny Deila had made three changes to his defence following Thursday's 2-2 draw with Fenerbahce and they continued to look uncomfortable early on.

With Efe Ambrose suspended and Charlie Mulgrew and Jozo Simunovic still injured, Tyler Blackett came in to partner Boyata with Saidy Janko in for the rested Mikael Lustig and Emilio Izaguirre back from a Europa League ban. Tom Rogic was also in for the injured Stefan Johansen in midfield.

Izaguirre had a low drive pushed away by Michael McGovern soon after the opener but Hamilton were looking comfortable and Ali Crawford had a shot deflected wide before Gordon emerged unmarked at the back post following a corner, but could not turn his shot on goal.

Celtic could not find their rhythm amid some incessant Hamilton pressing but they got their way back into the game from a set-piece after Lucas Tagliapietra chopped down Janko following some slack play from the hosts.

Griffiths curled in the free-kick from the right and Boyata found space to cushion a volley into the top corner from six yards.

Crawford's audacious free-kick had Craig Gordon scrambling but the ball drifted wide and Celtic were soon in front when Griffiths rose brilliantly to head Janko's deflected cross into the corner for his 12th goal of the season.

Hamilton fought hard to get back into it. The Celtic goalkeeper missed Imrie's free-kick but saw it flash wide and Grant Gillespie shot just wide from 25 yards.

Celtic should have killed the game off on the break just before the hour mark but Nir Bitton missed the chance to release Griffiths and Kris Commons eventually shot wide.

Crawford almost made them pay with a brilliant first-time effort towards the far top corner but Gordon made an excellent one-handed save and Carlton Morris missed the rebound.

But Celtic were comfortable during the final quarter and substitute Gary Mackay-Steven was inches from a third with an stoppage-time run and shot.