Edouard’s hat-trick puts Celtic gem back in the shop win­dow

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Total Football - By Roddy Forsyth SCOT­TISH FOOT­BALL COR­RE­SPON­DENT at Celtic Park

Celtic are al­ready on course to es­tab­lish an epochal record, de­spite man­ager Neil Len­non telling his play­ers to sup­press any talk of 10 suc­ces­sive ti­tles and con­cen­trate on deal­ing with Hamil­ton Aca­dem­i­cal in the in­au­gu­ral fix­ture of their Scot­tish Pre­mier­ship campaign.

The cham­pi­ons, thanks in part to an Od­sonne Edouard hat-trick, did so in such ruth­less fash­ion that it would not be a huge sur­prise if they led the ta­ble from start to fin­ish.

The sense of un­shak­able con­ti­nu­ity was es­tab­lished be­fore the game, when the Ac­cies squad formed a guard of hon­our for the Hoops as they walked onto the pitch for the pre­sen­ta­tion of the cham­pi­onship tro­phy for 2019-20.

Scott Brown emerged bear­ing the sil­ver­ware and bran­dished it in front of 60,000 empty seats, while the sta­dium an­nouncer boomed, “Make some noise for the Bhoys,” while hit­ting the but­ton on a record­ing of the Park­head faith­ful in much nois­ier days.

Edouard’s hat-trick in­side the hour put Celtic on the first step to­wards the pu­ta­tive 10-in-a-row.

Yet this was not a rollover of supine op­po­nents. The Ac­cies were lively and in­ven­tive, at least un­til half-time, by which point they trailed by only a sin­gle goal. But they were vul­ner­a­ble to Celtic’s strength in the wide po­si­tions, as demon­strated by Greg Tay­lor on the left when his cut­back sup­plied Edouard with a sim­ple tap-in for the opener. The left-back then set up Jeremie Frim­pong for 2-0 in al­most iden­ti­cal fash­ion.

Hamil­ton hit back soon after­wards, when Scott Martin’s de­liv­ery clipped Christo­pher Jul­lien to spin be­yond Scott Bain into the net.

What­ever am­bi­tion Brian Rice’s side har­boured af­ter the in­ter­val was crushed al­most as soon as the se­cond half got un­der way when James For­rest was next to pro­vide Edouard with a free­bie, with a cut­back from the right.

Ryan Christie forced the open­ing for goal No 4 with a shot which

Ryan Ful­ton blocked, only for the re­bound to fall per­fectly for the preda­tory Edouard to ri­fle home his third.

Pa­tryk Kli­mala, a late re­place­ment for Edouard, em­pha­sised Celtic’s dom­i­na­tion by tak­ing a pass from Jul­lien and hold­ing off Jamie Hamil­ton’s chal­lenge be­fore shoot­ing be­yond Ful­ton in the dy­ing sec­onds of nor­mal time.

The one con­cern for Celtic’s fol­low­ers is that Edouard’s per­for­mance sim­ply em­pha­sises his value to the team, a fac­tor that can only en­cour­age po­ten­tial suit­ors.

Hamil­ton’s con­so­la­tion, mean­while, is that they fielded a young team who can quarry wis­dom from the man­ner of their er­rors, as Rice re­flected after­wards.

“I am dis­ap­pointed to lose five goals, but Hamil­ton will not be judged in games against Celtic,” he said. “There was a bit of naivety there and Celtic didn’t have to work too hard for it, but there is be­lief in that dress­ing room and, al­though we lost heav­ily, we’ll get bet­ter.”

Preda­tor: Celtic’s Od­sonne Edouard beats Hamil­ton goal­keeper Ryan Ful­ton to score the se­cond goal of his hat-trick at Celtic Park

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