A much changed Motherwell were soundly beaten at Parkhead as Celtic cantered to a 3-0 win. The goals came late in the first half but we steadied the ship in the second.
With Saturday’s important meeting with fellow bottom six side St Mirren in mind Stephen Robinson elected to rest a few regulars and made five changes from the eleven that took the points in Perth. Main, Campbell, Mbulu, Johnson and Turnbull sat out as Bowman, Sammon, Bigirimana Rose and Gorrin were given a chance to shine.
Bigirimana got he game underway and for the next 60 seconds we kept the ball in Celtic’s last third. That did not last. The predictable pattern was soon established as we retreated into our half to ward off wave after wave of attacks.
We lasted almost half an hour before Celtic scored. Ralston cut in from his right and shot low through the legs as Gillespie lunged feet first. Two minutes later Dunne felled Forrest and Bobby Madden gave the penalty. Sinclair’s spot kick beat Gillespie.
It looked as though we might reach the safety of the changing room without further loss but Celtic substitute Johnston (on for the injured Edouard) dispatched a fine effort from outside the box to give our ‘keeper no hope.
It was no surprise to see a couple of fresh faces after the break. Campbell and Taylor-Sinclair came on for Bowman and Bigirimana. We changed to a 5-4-1 shape and the change proved to be effective. We pressed further up the park and looked more composed in defence.
Gorrin’s corner to the far post was almost met by Rose’s head but Brown intercepted for another corner. McHugh collected his usual yellow card before the small travelling band got their one thrill when Sammon found himself in the clear. His problem was that he was 35 yards from goal. He ambled to Gordon’s goal with a defender in tow but failed to get a shot away.
The game petered out without further action.
We will know by 5 o’clock on Saturday whether the exercise in damage limitation was a success.
Celtic 3 Motherwell 0
Team: Gillespie, Tait, McHugh, Aldred, Bigirimana (Taylor-Sinclair 45), Grimshaw, Rose, Bowman (Campbell 45), Dunne (Main 85), Sammon, Rodriguez-Gorrin
Wednesday 19 December 2018