Motherwell lost 1-2 to Celtic at Fir Park after a three goal exchange minutes before the end.
It was another instance of Motherwell failing to take a point after a well organised and hard working performance. The celebration that followed a 95th minute equaliser turned to despair following a 97th minute concession.
Short lived celebration
Stuart Kettlewell stood by the eleven that had earned so much praise at Ibrox last weekend and from the kick-off they made clear the intention to attack when the opportunities arose. It was inevitable that the talented Celtic side would have most of the ball but the ‘Well defence marshalled the threats and Liam Kelly had to save only one in the first half.
The best chance in the first period followed a quickly taken free kick and it released Harry Paton on the right side of the penalty area. His shot was on target but Scott Bain’s foot prevented the opener.
Motherwell got a standing ovation from the home stands as they approached the tunnel at the break.
Bevis Mugabi got into a tangle with Bain on the goal line and Stephen O'Donnell forced the ball into the net but after a VAR review Willie Collum indicated offside. The whistler did not endear himself the ‘Well crowd. An early booking for Callum Slattery set the tone and it was noticeable the Collum was first off the pitch after the final whistle.
As the game moved into the last quarter Motherwell began to break out from the periods of Celtic pressure more frequently. Kettlewell sent on fresh legs and within a minute Blair Spittal found room in the box. He turned and shot only to see Bain get a foot to the ball to save.
The home defence maintained its shield around the South stand goal until the 88th minute. Substitute Luis Palma sent in a cross from the left that deceived the defence. Kelly’s view was obstructed and the ball sneaked in at the far corner. It was a hard blow as an unexpected point seemed to be within reach.
The fourth official indicated that there would be five additional minutes and Motherwell threw more players forward. From a throw-in the ball finished at Spittal’s feet and he was able to find the corner of the net from 10 yards.
As the game resumed it appeared that a draw was certain but Matt O’Reilly got on the end of a deep cross and blasted the ball into the net for the latest of late winners.
It was a thrilling and cruel ending as Motherwell, yet again, failed to take anything after making a huge contribution to the match.
Motherwell 1 Celtic 2
Team: Kelly, O’Donnell(Souare 78), McGinn, Mugabi, Casey, Spencer, Spittal, Slattery (Wilkinson 88), Miller(Zdravskovski 88), Paton, Bair (Shaw 70)
Saturday 30 September 2023