Our manager again backed his often stated view that youngsters would be given their chance by handing a debut start to Steven Meechan. McHugh also made the initial eleven along with Jennings. Coke, Sutton and Forbes were relegated to the bench.
We kicked off facing the South Stand end with the visibility poor. Our chances looked poorer after 14 minutes when Sanmaras escaped the attentions of four defenders to drive a powerful shot which beat Ruddy at his left side. The opener seemed inevitable as the visitors dominated the early stage of the game. We were pushed deeper and deeper and found it impossible to get any rhythm into our play.
Ross has a bash
An early indicator that we might have some success came when a Hately free kick forced Boruc into a good save and soon we had the equaliser. A powerful run from McHugh looked like a lost cause as he was forced to the dead ball line in a wide position but the youngster managed to direct a low ball toward the six yard box where Jutkiewicz managed the perfect touch at the near post. We were level after 26 minutes.
Our best spell of the game followed. We looked composed and happy in possession. Passes were crisp and short though much of the time the ball shuffled along the back four. Occasional long efforts were directed forward and, as the halftime whistle neared, one of those balls resulted in a free kick. Hateley lofted the ball over the ruck and it fell to Reynolds. He was at a narrow angle to the goal but succeeded from close range. Within a minute the safety of the dressing room was reached and Motherwell held a 2-1 lead.
The second half was a tale of Celtic domination. Right from the start we were camped in our last third and some heroic defending was needed. Again we could not clear our lines and in 52 minutes McGeady's curled effort found the net.
Coke replaced Murphy on the hour as we tried to get a grip on the game. Murphy had an excellent first half but as we had lost any forward going momentum he was the sacrificed. The change had barely taken place before some last gasp defending was needed as a series of pot shots were taken close in. Ruddy then took centre stage when he saved Robson's 64th minute penalty following Saunders' trip on Samaras.
Motherwell fans were afforded a first look at 17 year old Jamie Pollock in the first team when McHugh limped off after treatment.
Eventually the pressure told and the third goal was conceded with only eleven minutes remaining. The newly introduced Fortune blasted and unstoppable effort high into the net and the contest was over.
Forbes (who came on for Jennings) had a free kick on target and later a half chance off target but it never looked like we could get back into the game. Gannon had said before the game that he was interested in seeing how the youngsters performed and he declared himself satisfied. Will he return to a more tried and tested line up at Ibrox next week?