Hamilton 0-3 Celtic: Red card was awful decision - Brendan Rodgers

Referee Willie Collum shows Callum McGregor a red card early in the second half
Referee Willie Collum shows Callum McGregor a red card early in the second half

Manager Brendan Rodgers was delighted by Celtic's response to an "awful" red card for Callum McGregor following Saturday's 3-0 win at Hamilton.

Referee Willie Collum booked McGregor for a second time early in the second half for a challenge on Scott McCann.

However, the Premiership leaders were untroubled as Stuart Armstrong and Moussa Dembele added to Leigh Griffiths' first-half strike.

"It's a really, really bad decision," said Rodgers of the sending off.

"I thought we dealt with everything very well. It was always going to be difficult for us because of the [artificial] pitch and different questions have been asked of us.

"We created a very good first goal on the counter-attack, it was a great finish by Leigh and that gave us confidence. We then got a brilliant second goal - a high level of quality by Stuart, and he has shown that throughout the season.

"We were presented with a challenge going down to 10 men for the first time this season, which I thought was an awful decision by the referee.

"Know your player, for one, and then he needs a bit of help from his linesman. Callum McGregor just jumps forward, his momentum takes him forward, he doesn't have his foot up, and of course the player goes over.

"The kid is hugely disappointed, but there's no fault of his on that one.

"But it gave us a different challenge, we went 4-3-2, still kept the shape of the team much the same, and we put on an extra striker, so that allowed us to block lines of passing, shift defensively, but always gave us a threat attacking-wise.

"We worked on that over the course of pre-season but that's been the first time it's come into play, and the players deserve credit, we got a third goal and maybe could've had more. To finish 3-0 on a difficult pitch, with a clean sheet, was a super professional performance."

Moussa Dembele completed the scoring at New Douglas Park
Dembele completed the scoring at New Douglas Park

Griffiths, who went off at half-time, is now on 13 goals for the season, while his replacement Dembele moved on to 18.

"That is their job - they get paid for that," Rodgers told BBC Scotland. "Leigh was excellent - he just had a tight calf, it was something we didn't want to risk - but he was very good in the first half and it was a really good finish.

"Moussa comes into the game and that is the beauty of it. You can take one off, bring the other on and Moussa's was a good finish as well."

The comfortable victory stretches Celtic's domestic run to 22 matches unbeaten, with 52 points amassed from 18 Premiership matches.

"It has been a great return so far but we have to keep pushing," said Rodgers. "The players will be back in on Boxing Day and then we look forward to Ross County and Rangers on New Year's Eve."

Hamilton manager Martin Canning was frustrated by his side's application after McGregor's dismissal.

"Against the top teams, you can't make mistakes," he said. "You've got to switch on and make sure you do the right things.

"When they go down to 10 men, I believed we would go on to take something from the game.

"We had possession of the ball but it was too slow, too laboured. We didn't do well enough second half."

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