Howat 32, Littlejohn 67 & 81, Napier 72
Hamilton Academical 0
Celtic enjoyed a comfortable win in the sunshine at K-Park on Sunday as they swept aside Hamilton Accies, winning 4-0 and bouncing back after last weekend’s League Cup final disappointment. The Hoops took a first-half lead through Kirsty Howat, and added to their tally with three second-half strikes – a double from Ruesha Littlejohn and a goal from Jamie-Lee Napier.
Manager David Haley once again made changes from his previous starting line-up, with Ellis Dalgliesh, Georgie Rafferty, Heather Richards, Kirsty Howat and Sarah Ewens all coming into the starting XI.
From kick-off it was clear that Celtic were quicker and stronger than their opponents, having almost complete control of possession and constantly pressing forward. Early attempts on goal by Kerry Montgomery and Sarah Crilly were off-target, but showed Celtic’s intent.
After 20 minutes, a corner from Richards was met by midfielder Natalie Ross, but her header crashed off the crossbar and bounced to safety. This was followed by a fierce drive from Howat from outside the penalty area, but it was straight at Accies keeper Fleming.
However, the Hoops got their reward after 32 minutes when Ewens gained possession on the right and floated a cross to the back post where Kirsty Howat was unmarked and she cleverly volleyed the ball home.
There were few further incidents before the break although Hamilton’s striker Paton was sent off following an off-the-ball incident with Sarah Crilly.
The second half saw Celtic in complete control of proceedings, with Ross, Ewens and Montgomery prominent but unable to unlock the compact Accies defence. The visitors, for their part, were unable to put any pressure on Celtic’s defence.
The goals finally came as Hamilton tired. On 67 minutes substitute Littlejohn scored from close-range after several Celtic shots had been blocked. This was followed five minutes later by the best goal of the game when Jamie-Lee Napier lashed a shot from distance high into the net.
The scoring was completed in 81 minutes. A shot from Suzanne Mulvey hit the underside of the bar, struck goalkeeper Fleming’s back, and surprising stopped dead on the goal-line. Littlejohn was first to react to make it 4-0 for the Hoops.
CELTIC: Cunningham, Dalgliesh, Whyte (Clark), Rafferty, Ross (Poucel), Napier, Montgomery (McFarlane), Richards, Crilly, Howat (Littlejohn), Ewens (Mulvey).
Report & Picture: Celtic FC