MX23RW : Monday, December 10 18:11:06
Nov 24, 2018 at 12.30pm UK at ​The SuperSeal Stadium (Hamilton)
HamiltonHamilton Academical
0-3
Celtic
FT(HT: 0-1)
Christie (13'), Martin (68' og.), Griffiths (81')

Preview: Hamilton Academical vs. Celtic - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of Saturday's Scottish Premiership clash between Hamilton Academical and Celtic.

Celtic have the chance to extend their lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership table when they take on Hamilton Academical on Saturday lunchtime.

The reigning champions make the trip to New Douglas Park on the back of a goalless draw at Livingston before the international break - a result that proved enough to lift them above Hearts at the summit.


Hamilton Academical

Hamilton Academical manager Martin Canning pictured in 2016© Reuters

Hamilton manager Martin Canning had no excuses on the back of his side's 4-0 thrashing at the hands of St Johnstone a fortnight ago, admitting that "it was night and day between the two teams" at McDiarmid Park.

While the Saints were making it five wins in a row to climb the division, the Accies fell to a loss that leaves them positioned 10th in the Scottish top flight, five points in front of a seemingly doomed St Mirren.

Hamilton conceded twice in both halves to make it 20 goals shipped - including six at the hands of Hibernian in early October - and just three scored in their last seven matches.

On the back of five defeats in that seven-match run, Canning must now pick his players up ahead of a gruelling run that sees his side face Celtic, St Mirren, Dundee and Hibernian in the space of a fortnight.

Positives may be few and far between at this point, though the Accies did restrict Celtic to just one goal when they last faced off in the opening month of the season - Dedryck Boyata's goal all that separated the sides that afternoon.

They were 1-0 winners over Livingston earlier this month, too, earning a rare victory through a late Mason Bloomfield goal - just their ninth strike of the season.

That was also their only three-point haul in seven attempts since seeing off St Mirren in September, but the 4-0 loss at St Johnstone a week on suggests that this could be another tough period for Canning and his men.

Recent form in Scottish Premiership: LLDLWL


Celtic

An intense-looking Brendan Rodgers in charge of Celtic on October 4, 2018© Reuters

Celtic have recovered from a slow start to Brendan Rodgers's third campaign in charge to find themselves top of the pile after 13 matches, albeit level on points with Hearts.

The Bhoys dropped a couple of points at Livingston in their most recent outing, but a draw was enough to lift them above fading force Hearts, who went down 1-0 at home to Kilmarnock on the same weekend.

That result aside, Rodgers's side have clicked into gear over the past month, winning five in a row prior to their trip to the Almondvale Stadium. Twenty-one goals were scored in the process against Aberdeen, St Johnstone, Hibernian, Dundee and Hearts, while just two goals were conceded.

In fact, the stalemate against Livingston makes it five clean sheets in six for the champions, with Hibernian the only side to breach their defence since the tail end of September.

With closest challengers Hearts managing just one point from nine, the Hoops have climbed to the top for the first time this term thanks to their superior goal difference of +21, and now Rodgers will be keen to put some distance between his side and the chasing pack.

Celtic have a big week ahead, as their league games with Hamilton and Aberdeen sandwich a huge trip to Rosenborg in the Europa League, from which Rodgers will surely be targeting all three points to keep his side's European hopes alive.

All focus for now is on the short trip to Lanarkshire for Saturday's lunchtime kickoff, however, as the Hoops gear up for a massive month in the build-up to Christmas.

Recent form in Scottish Premiership: WWWWWD
Recent form (all competitions): LWWWWD


Team News

James Forrest in action for Celtic in the Champions League on July 18, 2018© Reuters

The international break arguably came at the wrong time for the visitors, as they were just hitting their stride in the run-up to the two-week break.

A number of Celtic's players were called up for international action across the globe, including man of the moment James Forrest, who netted five goals in two games to make it a good week for Scotland.

Kieran Tierney withdrew from Scotland's squad because of an injury problem and may come back into contention on Saturday, as could skipper Scott Brown and goalkeeper Craig Gordon.

Elsewhere, however, Leigh Griffiths remains absent for unexplained reasons, while Nir Bitton and Eboue Kouassi are still nursing injuries of their own.

Home boss Canning can call upon Mickel Miller and Dougie Imrie this weekend following the duo's return from suspension.

James Keatings has enjoyed a run in the side, playing the full 90 minutes in the win over Livingston, but the hosts may opt for a more defensive system for this visit of the league leaders.

Despite scoring just three times in their last seven games, Fredrik Brustad - responsible for none of those goals - is expected to continue up top.

Hamilton Academical possible starting lineup:
Woods; Gordon, Tshiembe, Kilgallon; McGowan, MacKinnon, Martin, Taiwo, Imrie; Brustad, Bingham

Celtic possible starting lineup:
Gordon; Lustig, Boyata, Benkovic, Izaguirre; Ntcham, McGregor, Christie; Forrest, Edouard, Morgan


Head To Head

Celtic's 1-0 win over Hamilton at Parkhead three months ago made it seven victories in a row against this weekend's opponents in all competitions.

The Accies have been trailing at both half time and full time in five of those seven games.

The last time the Hoops failed to take all three points off Hamilton was in February 2016 when the sides played out a 1-1 draw here.


Sports Mole Logo

We say: Hamilton Academical 0-3 Celtic

Confidence will be high in the Celtic camp after climbing to the top of the Scottish Premiership for the first time this season two weeks ago. Hamilton, meanwhile, have struggled for momentum all term and head into the match on the back of a thumping against St Johnstone, so a comfortable away win can be expected here.


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Who will win Saturday's Scottish Premiership clash between Hamilton Academical and Celtic?

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James Forrest in action for Celtic in the Champions League on July 18, 2018
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How Celtic could line up against Hearts
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Celtic159423262631
2RangersRangers1694338142431
3Hearts178452118328
4Kilmarnock167542016426
5St Johnstone167541920-126
6Aberdeen157441613325
7Hibernian1566324121224
8Livingston166551313023
9Motherwell164481625-916
10Hamilton AcademicalHamilton1741121237-2513
11Dundee1624101329-1610
12St Mirren1724111132-2110

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