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From Martin Watt
Celtic toiled over Hamilton Academical into a slender win to maintain their start near the top of the Premiership.
James Forrest converted debutant Mohamed Elyounoussi’s cross in a first half dominated by the visitors.
Scotland winger Forrest appeared a shot off the crossbar after the break but Hamilton climbed in belief and goal.
They had a few half chances and made life tricky for the winners but Celtic held company.
The fifth consecutive league triumph for Neil Lennon’s unwanted renders these six points clear of Rangers, that sponsor Livingston after on Saturday.
Sit with four points before the fixtures.
Accies manager Brian Rice hoped for strength by barricading his backline with five defenders with George Oakley handed a change that was lonely .
Since the winners chiselled a way through, the attempt to Celtic lasted less than four minutes, however. A neat Odsonne Edouard lay-off place Elyounoussi free down the left and his cross was expertly tucked at the near post by Forrest for his seventh goal of a season up to now.
But what looked like a landslide soon turned into a trickle as Polynesian failed to cement their superiority.
Like his own team, Elyounoussi – a 17m winger who has landed on loan in Southampton – began impressively afterward lost his way.
Despite possession statistics of 73% in favour of the people, dwelling keeper Owain Fon Williams’ gloves moved untouched until he produced a terrific save away and on to the bottom of his bar to safety.
As Hamilton kept themselves in the sport the one-touch departure and combination play from Lennon’s guys, who had been so striking in their Old Firm win at Ibrox before the worldwide break, was easy on the eye but easy to repel.
The hosts were in nosebleed territory when Blair Alston mustered their first shot at goal shy of this mark, the midfielder push over his shoulder landing directly from Fraser Forster’s arms.
But they improved markedly in the second half, fraying nerves with a string of raids forward. Alex Gogic nodded wide in the box once there was the free-kick floated on to his head and Alston was just a couple of yards with the attempt from the edge of the box after a run from Adrian Beck, on for his introduction.
Marios Ogkmpoe also dragged wide while Celtic replacement Vakoun Bayo snapped a header directly at Fon Williams.
Celtic were forced to sweat until 20 seconds at the end of time, even when Ogkmpoe failed to connect to the pushed ball across goal of Scott McMann, but Accies’ spadework was in vain.
BBC Scotland’s John Barnes at the Fountain of Youth Stadium
There was a lineup of contenders at a screen full of slick death. Ryan and forrest Christie have been the very notable but they and their team-mates neglected to maintain dominance and the tempo.
That was down to Accies imposing themselves on the match. The influence of Gogic from the role in midfield caught they eye, as did the youthful exuberance of Lewis Smith.
However, dividing play, being the pillow before the principal defenders and attempting for Accies moving forward, was enough for Gogic to find the nod.
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