Saturday, August 10, 2019
Fir Park, Motherwell
(Donnelly 12, 90+1)
(Ajer 15, Griffiths 41, Forrest 67, Edouard 77, Christie pen. 86)
CELTIC extended their perfect start to the Scottish Premiership today (Saturday) with a comprehensive 5-2 win over Motherwell at Fir Park. After trailing 12 minutes in, Neil Lennon’s men replied with five goals from five different scorers, before the Steelmen pulled a consolation back into second-half injury time.
Kris Ajer, Leigh Griffiths, James Forrest, Odsonne Edouard and Ryan Christie all found the net – the latter of who has already bagged seven goals, and has made three assists this campaign.
The home side started well, often pushing Celtic deep into their own half and playing out from the back. After 12 minutes, they were rewarded with a goal from Liam Donnelly, the 23-year-old scoring his fifth goal in as many games this season so far.
In what marked the perfect reply, the Scottish champions pulled level minutes later, when Kris Ajer coolly slotted the ball home after receiving a neat through-ball down the inside-right channel from Forrest.
Buoyed by their response, the visitors began manipulating the space in both central and wide areas as Olivier Ntcham and Lewis Morgan paired well down the left. On 33 minutes, Boli Bolingoli was unfortunate not to put his side in front when he sent a volleyed left-foot wide of the mark. Minutes later, Motherwell’s Grimshaw did well to prevent Ajer extended his goal tally for the day.
With just four minutes of normal first-half time remaining, the Hoops then did get themselves in front when Leigh Griffiths sent a powerful free-kick low to the keeper’s left and into the net.
Once in front, Celtic returned from the break with determination and drive as they sought to extend their lead. They dominated possession and their build-up play was exceptional against a resolute and well-organised Motherwell side.
On 67 minutes, Forrest scored his second in two games, when he collected a neat cut-back from Bolingoli at the left touchline, before slotting the ball beneath the opposition stopper.
Ten minutes after that, substitute Edouard, on for Griffiths, produced a moment of magic to make it 4-1. Dominant in midfield from back to front, Olivier Ntcham strode forward before playing the ball inside to his countryman. The 21-year-old forward effortlessly turned his man, before stroking the ball into the left corner of the net.
The travelling support matched the standard of the goal with a rapturous reply, but the Hoops weren’t done. With just four minutes of normal time remaining, Edouard was hauled to the floor and referee duly pointed to the spot.
Substitute Ryan Christie stepped up and fired high to his left into the net, to make it three from three from the spot.
Two minutes into injury time, early scorer Donnelly netted a second consolation goal, but with five goals from five different scorers – 12 goals in two Scottish Premiership games so far – the Hoops were well-worthy of the 5-2 scoreline.
Neil Lennon’s men now turn their attention to Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League third round qualifier second leg against CFR Cluj at Paradise high in confidence.
CELTIC: Bain; Ajer, Bitton, Jullien, Bolingoli; Brown, McGregor, Forrest (Christie 67), Ntcham (Sinclair 79), Morgan; Griffiths (Edouard 62)
Subs not used: Gordon, Hayes, Shved, Bayo
MOTHERWELL: Gillespie, Tait, Gallagher, Dunn, Grimshaw, Donnelly, Campbell, Polworth, Hylton (Scott 70), Long (Cole 62), Seedorf (Ilic 46)
Subs not used: Carson, Hartley, MacGuire, Livingstone
Website Man of the Match: Kris Ajer
Celtic v CFR Cluj
UEFA Champions League
13th August 2019
Kick Off 19:45