MOTHERWELL scored the first and last goal today in an absorbing game against Scottish Champions but unfortunately for Stephen Robinson, Neil Lennon’s side put five past his side in between to give Celtic a comprehensive 5-2 victory.
Celtic hadn’t won at Fir Park since Tom Rogic scored a great winner in the 4-3 classic in the Invincible season. And just like in that game Motherwell shocked Celtic with a bright start on a top quality playing surface, which is a great advert for the Scottish game, compared to the plastic surface that was on television last weekend at Kilmarnock.
‘The Stealmen’, as we like to call them after THAT goal earlier in the year, look a decent side who should make the top six this year. Few sides will beat then so comfortably at Fir Park as Celtic did today.
Both new singings Jullien and Bolingoli took time to settle and it was no surprise when the home side took a well deserved lead in 12 minutes, with Scott Bain looking culpable being beaten at his near post. But Champions know how to respond to that kind of set-back and within a few minutes Kris Ajer combined with James Forrest and the make-shift right back kept his composure to bring Celtic level.
Ntcham could have set Griffiths up for a tap in but undercut the pass, the French midfielder then found Bolingoli with a clever pass and the Belgian full -back could it sweetly on the volley but was unlucky to miss the far post.
And just as Motherwell’s opener was coming, so was Celtic’s second and it was Leigh Griffiths from a free kick at the edge of the area who double bluffed the keeper to beat him at the side he should have been watching.
Celtic just about deserved to be in front at the interval but in the second half it was a dominate Celtic performance. Three goals were added to the tally for the day, taking the league total to 12. The goals from Forrest , after good work for Bolingoli, Edouard and a penalty from Christie were richly deserved and Celtic should have scored more. Even at 5-1 ahead Ajer – excellent throughout – got himself into a great position but shot wide when Edouard was standing waiting for the tap-in.
And rather than 6-1 the score changed to 5-2 in stoppage time when Jullien failed to win the header from a corner, Bitton lost his man and Donnelly accepted the consolation.
Neil Lennon picked today’s side with one eye on Cluj on Tuesday and he was able to make his substations today with that game in mind, yet two of the subs coming from the bench, Edouard and Christie, found the back of the net. The other player coming on – Scotty Sinclair – didn’t have a chance to get involved but did it did give the support a chance to sign his’ ‘Beautiful, Wonderful’ song.
Lewis Morgan had a poor game in Romania but he came onto a game today after a quiet start, when he was denied the ball by the intensity of the Motherwell play. Bolingoli too will be pleased with his performance, it will be interesting to see what mark Sandman gives him. With Olivier Ntcham playing well there will be plenty of MFin editing for us to do later this evening!
Celtic players will now rest up ahead of Tuesday’s crucial Champions League match. On this form Cluj should be worried. It could be quite a night.
Man of the Match – Kris Ajer.