There was a healthy crowd in attendance as Motherwell got the game under way. It was not long before Celtic stamped their dominance all over the game. In just three minutes the away side moved ahead. An easy looking ball through the middle looked comfortable enough for William Kinninburgh but a mis-timed error allowed young Celtic striker Bryan Prunty to pounce. The nimble forward made no mistake in tucking the ball under Corr for the opener.
Celtic were really on top in the opening stages and Craig Beattie came close with a good turn and shot went narrowly wide of the left hand post.
Motherwell’s first opportunity came on the fifteen-minute mark from Kenny Wright. Johan Mjallby was caught in possession, which allowed Wright a clear run on goal. His one-on-one effort with Celtic keeper Michael McGowan was dealt with well by the young Celtic goalie.
Celtic continued to press and chances for Prunty, Beattie and Ross Wallace all came close. But it was Motherwell who had the guilt edge opportunity to level the game. ‘Well cut through the home defence, with good work from Fagan and Andy Scott. The ball was squared to Wright, who controlled and screwed the ball agonisingly wide of the upright.
Celtic took heart from the miss and there followed a ten minute spell that won them the game. Firstly, Johan Mjallby doubled Celtics advantage with the aid of a wicked deflection of Kinninburgh on the thirty-fifth minute. The Swede picked the ball up and his effort spun off Willie and landed in the open goal with Corr left helpless.
Celtic really turned the screw and with their next attack made it three. Good work from Petta down the left saw his floated ball over the top elude Kinninburgh and with his first touch Beattie rounded Corr and tucked the ball home.
Two minutes later Celtic added a fourth, when the impressive Prunty picked the ball up on the half way line. He carried it forward before sliding a well-timed ball through the channel for Craig Beattie. The young striker took one look before hammering the ball past Corr into the far left hand side of the goal to double his tally for the day.
Celtic had a chance to make it five just before half time, but Barry John Corr turned Kevin McBride’s free kick away superbly.
Celtic started the second half in much the same way that they finished the first. Forty-six minutes were on the clock when Craig Beattie grabbed his hat trick. The tall striker broke away down the left. He found space as he arrived in the box, and with Corr closing him down, the number nine neatly lifted the ball over him to take Celtics lead to five.
Just four minutes later, and Celtic added a sixth with a really scrappy goal from the home side’s point of view. Poor defending allowed Celtic fullback Stephen McManus to have an un-challenged effort at goal. The scuffed shot was enough to beat Corr in the Motherwell goal.
Celtic were really cruising, and when it looked as though the score line could become even more of an embarrassment, Motherwell pulled one back. Shaun Fagan whipped a free kick from the left and Paul Quinn to rose above two Celtic defenders and the goalkeeper to head the ball home for a consolation goal.
Andy Scott was unlucky not to pull back another one for the Steelmen, but his spinning shot hit the outside of the right post and spun away for a goal kick.
Celtic took their foot of the gas a little which allowed the very young ‘Well side to play a little. Ryan Russell and Adam Coakley came on for Marc Fitzpatrick and Andy Scott respectively and both looked lively. Celtic had a late chance with a Mjallby chance from a corner went over the bar, but the game ended 6-1 to the visitors.
Motherwell: Barry John Corr, Grime Mathie, Kevin McDonald, Paul Quinn, William Kinninburgh, Kevin Barkey, Shaun Fagan, Kenny Wright, Andy Scott (Adam Coakley 75mins), Mark Fitzpatrick (Ryan Russell 70mins) Subs: Brian McAndie, David Keogh, Jamie Ewings
Celtic: Michael McGowan, John Kennedy, Stephen McManus, Joos Valgaren, Johan Mjallby, Kevin McBride, Ross Wallace, Steven Jack, Craig Beattie, Bryan Prunty, Bobby Petta Suns: Tony McParland, Michael Robertson, Paul Lawson, Gary Arbuckle, Aiden McGready