CELTIC are the November International Break Title winners after matching the Rangers result at Livingston with a rather mundane two nil victory over Motherwell at Celtic Park this afternoon.
After recovering from the huge disappointment of losing October’s International Break title following our defeat in West Lothian, Celtic had their eyes on the big prize as they laid siege on the Steelmen’s goal in the early stages.
Neil Lennon made two changes from the side that one in Rome, one enforced by the injury to Elhamed and the other allowing Ryan Christie to rest up while giving Olivier Ntcham his dues for that composed finish, which is up there with Tom Rogic’s 2017 Scottish Cup Final winner to complete a remarkable Invincible season. Jeremie Frimpong started at right back.
The opening goal came from a decent move where Elyounoussi cut in from the left and found Forrest in the centre of the Motherwell box. Forrest’s presence was enough to force a challenge and the loose ball broken off the Motherwell defender to land at the feet of Oddsone Edouard, who has been the assist king in recent weeks. He found the postage stamp corner to give Celtic the lead with 19 minutes on the clock.
The Green Brigade were finding their voice after a late start for them and The Bhoys at the other side of Paradise. Both waited outside to protest against the Minute of Silence for Remembrance Sunday.
Both Edouard and Elyounoussi found themselves in a similar spot from where the 21 year old Frenchman opened the scoring but both hit their efforts just over the bar.
Motherwell were more adventurous than most sides we have played at home this season, perhaps sensing the tiredness in the Celtic legs after Thursday night. Fraser Forster was forced to make a splendid save just before the interval although the flag had already been raised.
Richard Tait sliced his attempted clearance into his own net in 54 minutes after Edouard beautifully flicked the ball round the corner to Jonny Hayes. His ferocious ball from the byeline was too hot to handle for the Motherwell skipper as he doubled Celtic’s lead.
Edouard then set up Ntcham and a repeat of his goal in Rome looked on the cards. However there was no Ntcham dink this time as his low shot was well saved by Gillespie in the visitors’ goal.
Motherwell pressed for a goal and while there were one or two uncomfortable moments, the Celtic defence held firm.
Christie came on for Forrest and Lewis Morgan replaced Elyounoussi for the final few minutes as the game came to a calm conclusion, certainly in contrast to Thursday night’s drama.
So Celtic go into the International Break still top of the Table, job done and all that in what was a morning after the night before sort of match. The three points are all that matter.
Man of the Match went to Jonny Hayes, which seemed fair enough. A new contract please Peter, for Jonny and also Nir Bitton, Celtic’s unsung heroes.