CELTIC need to buy a top class striker in January according to Ronny Deila but with Leigh Griffiths in such match-winning form the manager’s priority is surely to make sure the one he already has stays fit.

Griffiths was the difference at New Douglas Park as the champions recovered from being a goal down early on to beat a determined and impressive Hamilton Academical side who continue to show all those who had them favourites for relegation just how wrong they were.

Perfect delivery from a free-kick and a header that defied the laws of gravity meant this most natural of goalscorers enjoyed another good day at the office. Griffiths should but won’t start for Scotland against Poland. Right now, he is doing little wrong and has 12 goals already for his club this season.

Celtic have a masochist streak. This team seem to live for making life hard for themselves. The make-shift back four were less than accomplished, Hamilton striker Carlton Morris, on loan from Norwich City, enjoyed himself against Dedryk Boyata and Tyler Blackett, but in the end that bit more class got them through; although this was a far from convincing performance by Deila’s team.

It was a year to the day since Hamilton won at Celtic Park, the result more than any other which sent Alex Neil to the Premier League, and one bookmaker was offering odds of 30/1 pre-match for a repeat of that result.

However, with four minutes on the clock, it looked a ridiculous price. From a throw-in, Blackett missed his header, German Gramoz Kurtaj outmuscled Boyata way too easily, then the Accies striker bore down on goal and with all the calmness in the world he placed a shot past Craig Gordon and into the bottom corner.

Celtic’s immediate response was a right foot shot from Emilio Izaguirre which forced Michael McGovern into a smart safe at his near post but the early exchanges belonged to the home team.

Hamilton were full of energy coupled with intelligence. The Celtic back four were getting no time on the ball and every pass was forced and tended to fall to someone wearing red and white.

Dougie Imrie a tenacious and technical player, saw a shot deflected wide on 15 minutes and from that Ali Crawford corner, right-back Ziggy Gordon was unmarked at the back post but was just stretching too much to make Gordon work.

But the first mistake Hamilton made led to a Celtic goal on 26 minutes. Centre-half Lucas Tagliapietra was caught way out of position in midfield trying to win the ball, which he did not, and found himself chasing back in an attempt to catch Saidy Janko, which he did in an illegal sense.

From the free-kick, Griffiths produced a fine cross to the back post which found Boyata and he made up for his earlier effort when he sent the ball into the net for an equaliser which at that stage was against the run of play.

Hamilton were not far away from a second goal when Crawford’s free-kick, which he aimed for the near post when everyone expected a cross, missed by a few inches. However, it was the champions who scored next.

Just after the half hour, Janko got down the right, pinged in a cross, Griffiths leapt high into the air and then sent his header down past McGovern Dare I say that the accuracy and ability shown by the Scotland man to get up so high and then score was Larsson-like.

Janko’s cross had actually taken a deflection which made Griffiths’ execution all the more impressive.

Before the half ended, an Imrie free-kick from the right saw the ball fizz across the area, missed by everyone, including Gordon who came at it with one arm and it would have been glad his error escaped punishment.

Six minutes after the break and the Celtic goalkeeper was glad to see Grant Gillespie’s half volley go just wide as the home side attempted to get parity.

Given how well Griffiths had been playing, and how clever a football Nir Bitton is, it was therefore strange when the Israeli broke from midfield and with the Hamilton defence stretched, refused two opportunities to put the striker through on goal with what would have been a relatively simple pass. Instead, the ball was shifted right and Commons put his effort wide.

The look on Griffiths’ face said it all. He was not impressed.

Hamilton kept going and should have been level on 64 minutes. Celtic couldn’t clear the ball from their own box from a Crawford set-piece, the ball eventually made its way back to Crawford on the left hand side of the box and his curled effort brought out the best from Gordon, the ball fell to Morris who from a few yards failed to hit the target.

There was a hairy moment for Blackett on 77 minutes, the on-loan Manchester United man had a wretched afternoon, when he was robbed by Hamilton substitute Christian Nade who for a moment was clean through on goal only to be charged off the ball by the Celtic centre-half. It would easily have been a foul but referee Steven McLean said no.

Indeed, the referee choose to overlook quite a few fouls in the final moments, which saw a Griffiths free-kick saved and the in injury-time, and then Gary Mackay-Steven was unfortunate to see his shot go wide after a determined run and step-over brought him the opportunity.