Match ends, Celtic 4, Hamilton Academical 0.
- Celtic go three points clear of Aberdeen
- Celtic's seventh straight league win
- Hamilton without win in eight games
- Kris Commons scores two on return to side
Celtic eased past Hamilton to re-establish a three-point lead over Aberdeen at the top of the Premiership.
After enduring a frustrating opening period in which they dominated possession but could not convert, the home side ran riot after the break.
Kris Commons started and finished the scoring either side of goals from Stefan Johansen and John Guidetti.
The ruthless edge was necessary to overcome the dogged Hamilton but also keep second-place Aberdeen at bay.
It felt as though the crowd inside Celtic Park was still catching its breath following the raucous nature of Thursday's Europa League encounter with Internazionale.
Intensity was rare and the consequence was a game that fell into a settled rhythm.
Celtic controlled possession and Hamilton's defence dropped deep to deny space in behind to the home side's forwards.
The visitors were organised and resolute, so chances tended to be scrambled together.
Even so, the Hamilton goalkeeper, Michael McGovern, twice had to rescue his side with agile saves, making one from a close-range header and another from a John Guidetti shot that lacked power and direction.
Hamilton could only break sporadically and it was a measure of their limited attacking reach that it was Scott Brown rather than the goalkeeper Craig Gordon who was called upon to be defensively strong for Celtic - he twice muscled Nigel Hasselbaink off the ball as the last man against the Hamilton striker.
Familiar themes emerged, with Brown as strong and conscientious as a gladiator and Johansen playing with stealth and guile.
Ronny Deila made four changes to his starting line-up, three of them in attack, to try to shake off any muted reaction to the European exertions.
That wasn't wholly successful, since Guidetti was often frustrated, while James Forrest was only intermittently involved.
Frustration was no more of an effective opponent to the home side than Hamilton, though.
It was 75 minutes by the time the visitors won a corner kick - which Michael Devlin headed over - but by then Celtic were two goals in front.
Deila's team was rewarded for keeping faith in the manager's strategy but also for being alert to a decline in Hamilton's standards.
When possession was surrendered cheaply to Virgil van Dijk, the defender surged upfield, spreading panic with every stride, before slipping the ball to Commons, whose firm shot bundled past McGovern.
Johansen then hit the post as the home side exploited more gaps in the Hamilton defence.
Untroubled in defence, Van Dijk sought some involvement by galloping forward. Another foray brought a thumping shot that McGovern parried, only for Johansen to turn the rebound into the net.
A weariness then settled on the visitors, which was a source of motivation to Celtic; the home side sensed a wounded prey.
McGovern had to fling his hands up to tip an Adam Matthews shot over, but he was helpless as Guidetti headed Emilio Izaguirre's cross in from close range to make it 3-0.
Stuart Armstrong played a role in the build-up and the substitute was more directly involved in the fourth goal, when his pass was clipped over McGovern by the grounded Commons.
The victory was merited but also a timely confidence boost ahead of Celtic's visit to the San Siro on Thursday for the second leg against Inter and then Aberdeen's trip to Celtic Park on Sunday.
- 22DenayerSubstituted forMatthewsat 45'minutes
- 5van Dijk
- 25JohansenSubstituted forHendersonat 79'minutes
- 49ForrestSubstituted forArmstrongat 59'minutes
- 2GordonBooked at 24minsSubstituted forLongridgeat 45'minutesBooked at 86mins
- 5CanningSubstituted forDe Lima Tagliapietraat 83'minutes
- 6GillespieSubstituted forLyonat 55'minutes
- 44De Lima Tagliapietra
- Brian Colvin
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Celtic 4, Hamilton Academical 0.
Corner, Hamilton Academical. Conceded by Efe Ambrose.
Foul by Liam Henderson (Celtic).
Jon Routledge (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt missed. Virgil van Dijk (Celtic) right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box misses to the right.
Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Michael Devlin.
Louis Longridge (Hamilton Academical) is shown the yellow card.
Liam Henderson (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Louis Longridge (Hamilton Academical).
Foul by John Guidetti (Celtic).
Lucas (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Substitution, Hamilton Academical. Lucas replaces Martin Canning.
Goal! Celtic 4, Hamilton Academical 0. Kris Commons (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Adam Matthews.
Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Louis Longridge.
Substitution, Celtic. Liam Henderson replaces Stefan Johansen.
Goal! Celtic 3, Hamilton Academical 0. John Guidetti (Celtic) header from very close range to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Emilio Izaguirre.
Attempt missed. Michael Devlin (Hamilton Academical) header from very close range misses to the right.
Corner, Hamilton Academical. Conceded by Emilio Izaguirre.
Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Michael McGovern.