Neil Lennon praised his Celtic side for defeating a stubborn Hamilton Accies side and said his players were showing more fluency and flamboyance in their play.
Goals from Odsonne Edouard, Leigh Griffiths and David Turnbull brought the three points in what could have been difficult circumstances. Though Hamilton were missing 10 players, Brian Rice’s makeshift side were level with the champions at half time and worked tirelessly to frustrate Celtic in driving rain and strong wind.
Celtic’s patience paid off and Lennon said that the nature of their win was what had impressed him most.
“I thought we were outstanding,” he said. “We could have had two or three in the first half.
“The attitude and the approach from the players in dreadful conditions on a plastic pitch was outstanding.
“It was the best we have played for a while, the body language of the players was excellent so it was a great day for us and a great three points.
“We are looking a lot more like ourselves. I want us to play well like that.
“I want us to create chances and there was more flamboyance today than there has been for quite a while and more freedom in our play as well.”
The victory was the fifth in succession for Celtic after a winless run that saw Lennon come under severe pressure. After showing improvement over the festive period, the manager wants the team to continue their progress against Dundee United in midweek and into the derby against Rangers on January 2.
“There’s a long way to go,” he said. “I’m not saying we have turned a corner, but we are starting to do the right things a lot more of the time.
“We are starting to do it better and that comes from attitude, application and confidence.
“There is a lot more zest, a lot more fluency about the way we are playing.
“I am delighted. It could have been a very difficult game but we made it look easy – which it wasn’t.
“There is a lot to be encouraged about but we still have a lot of work to do.”
Hamilton manager Brian Rice was pleased with the efforts of his players but was bemused by the penalty aweard that gave Celtic their breakthrough goal. Referee Don Robertson judged that Accies defender Aaron Martin had fouled Edouard but Rice felt the award was kind to Celtic.
He said: “It is the season for presents, isn’t it?
“The penalty kick, in my opinion, was very soft. But hey-ho, the referee gives it.
“I don’t think we switched off, I just think it was a soft decision and it changed the game.
“Celtic have that goal lead, they keep the ball a bit better and we found it difficult.
“But we hung in and I can’t fault them. Their effort was magnificent.”