The fixture list, though congested, has been rather kind to us after the winter break. Four home games in a row, the first a Scottish Cup tie against lower league opposition and the next two games against teams at the wrong end of the table. We’ve already dispatched Airdrie and St Mirren, next up are Hamilton Accies.
For a while, relegation looked like a two way battle to see which team would go straight down and which team would end up in the playoff. But both Dundee and St Mirren have managed to claw their way back into things a little, while Hamilton Accies have slipped into danger and now sit just one point ahead of Dundee and two ahead of St Mirren.
With Dundee hosting a struggling Motherwell and St Mirren at home to an Hibernian side who now apparently have issues with their manager, it’s quite possible that Hamilton could slip to the bottom of the table today.
But they’ll know that too, and so they’ll be keen to try and pull off a shock result that avoids that and gets their season going again. But that’s going to take a big shock to do it.
With our 100% domestic home record still intact, you have to add in that Hamilton have returned from the winter break to a Scottish Cup exit at St Johnstone and a 3-0 defeat at home to Aberdeen. Before the break they lost the Lanarkshire derby and had also lost to Hearts just after Christmas. The last game they didn’t lose was at home to Kilmarnock, and they haven’t won since they beat St Mirren at the start of December.
The Kilmarnock draw is clearly the result in there that stands out the most, while they also narrowly lost out at Ibrox in a 1-0 defeat in December as well, so they have it in them to frustrate and otherwise cause problems for us. But equally we have it in ourselves to score goals, and with both of our new boys Timothy Weah and Oliver Burke having scored already they’ll be keen to continue that run today.
When we last faced Hamilton back in November, it was a good 3-0 victory at New Douglas Park with Ryan Christie and Leigh Griffiths on the scoresheet along side a Scott Martin own goal as he tried to keep out a Scott Sinclair header.
So Hamilton aren’t scoring goals, we are scoring plenty of goals with our new signings keen to impress and the rest of the team keen to keep up with them. An easy three points for Celtic then?
Is there ever such a thing?
The key point for Celtic right now is to keep winning. January is a far easier month than February on paper, and the teams behind us are keeping pace. We’re only one point clear at the top, the next two teams are only three points behind us as well, so any slip up at all can see us overtaken by several teams – although our goal difference would probably make that unlikely with just one slip up.
It’s tighter than it has been in years, and that’s mostly down to our indifferent away record. We can’t do anything about that right now, but we have to maintain our home record as much as possible to make up for it – and ideally give us something to build on in the second half of the season.
And enjoy it, because after this we’re going to very quickly get fed up playing St Johnstone!
Krys (Twitter @krys1888)