02 August 2020
Celtic and Hamilton will face off at empty Celtic Park this weekend in their opening match of the 2020/21 Scottish Premiership season.
Delivering action from the get-go, all three of Celtic’s opening Premiership matches last season produced over 3.5 goals. The hosts were nothing short of outstanding when they won the title last season, winning 26 of 30 Premiership fixtures before the coronavirus outbreak halted proceedings in Scotland (D2, L2). Impressively, 21 of those 26 victories featured at least a two-goal margin, which has been true in five of Celtic’s last eight wins in the top-flight H2Hs held at this stadium. Additionally, the ‘Bhoys’ have won all but one of their 11 league matches this calendar year (D1), with nine of those triumphs seeing them score three goals or more and yielding a full-time margin of at least two goals.
On the other hand, the visitors finished 2019/20 avoiding defeat in the final four league games of the season (W2, D2), three of which saw them keep a clean sheet. However, the ‘Accies’ failed to shut out their opponent in 78.57% (11) of 14 Premiership trips last season. The same thing goes for 13 of their 14 top-flight trips to Celtic since 2008 (W1, L13). Worryingly, nine of those 13 defeats came via at least a two-goal margin, with seven seeing Hamilton concede over 2.5 goals. Another potential reason for concern for the manager Brian Rice is that his team lacks ‘lethal instincts’ in front of the goal. Indeed, Hamilton netted under 1.5 goals in nine of 14 league trips last season, managing an average of 1 goal scored per Premiership away game.
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