Saunders got the nod over Craigan as Jim Gannon set out his team for his first visit to Parkhead in charge of Motherwell. O'Brien had not recovered from the knock he received last time out when we met Falkirk so there was just the one change.
The hosts kicked off and we faced the city centre end. The few hundred in the away corner were delighted at the first half showing. We held the ball well, shunned the long ball and passed our way out of trouble time and time again.
Gannon's attacking ways were apparent right from the off and we had three corners inside the first ten minutes. The home crowd were very quiet for long spells.
Moutouakil and Murphy seemed to have the run of the right wing and Hateley looked calm and collected in the middle of the park. The only missing piece in the jigsaw was the ability to put the ball into the opposition net.
The last portion of the first period proved to be an indicator of what lay ahead. Celtic picked up the pace after the break and we rarely threatened their goal. Ruddy was drawn more and more into the game and it was pleasing to see his long arms stretched over his head to end attack after attack.
Ruddy missed this one!
Jutkiewicz worked hard at his lone central striking job with Murphy supporting from a wide position. Lukas had a 25 yard effort parried for a corner and that was our second half attacking over.
McDonald almost broke through a tangle of our defenders to but his weak shot caused no problem. Both managers made full use of the substitutes' bench. Celtic pitched on more attackers and we shored up the defence. A debut was given to teenager Jordan Halsman and later Sutton and Jennings played a part.
As legs tired we defended deeper and deeper. With the game in added time both McDonald and McGeadie had good chances but both headers were off target.
Manager Gannon was happy with the showing and urged them to put that effort into all the games, not just those against the Old Firm.
Bring on St Mirren!