The sight of John Ruddy taking his place between the sticks gave a welcome boost to the team as it lined up to face Celtic. Forbes and Murphy also made the starting eleven as Fraser, Humphrey and Jutkiewicz were benched. The home side made six changes among them was a demotion for Keane, who started on the bench.
We survived a few scares inside the opening ten minutes when Rasmussen and McGeady tested Ruddy but our keeper made fine saves. We replied with fine efforts from Forbes then Hateley who came close when he connected on the six yard line with a Saunders’ cross. The ball was inches wide of Boruc’s post.
Some of the small band of Motherwell fans at Parkhead
Neither keeper was much troubled for the next twenty minutes but we gave them a scare just before the break. A Hateley corner almost sneaked in at Boruc’s near post but they scrambled it clear. At half time neither side deserved a lead. Our attacking options were pretty limited as we played with Murphy in the only outright striker.
We fell behind very soon after the restart and, in truth, we might have conceded more. Brown rattled the woodwork with Ruddy beaten then McGeady produced a peach of a chip to lob the keeper for the opening goal. There was another stramash in front of our goal and we hadn’t yet reached the 50th minute.
Celtic brought Keane on for Rasmussen and we countered with a double switch. Forbes and Sutton were pulled to be replaced with Jutkiewicz and McGlinchey.and soon Humphrey was thrown on for O’Brien. The changes did little to turn the game.
Ruddy's back - four goals conceded today!
O’Dea nodded in the second from a McGeady cross and finished the contest. Saunders almost produced a fine consolation as the last five minutes approached. It needed a goal line clearance to stop his fine volley.
Hammell will not be keen to see a replay of the third. He allowed young Forrest, on his debut, to get to the ball first and his touch beat Ruddy.
Our only consolation is that we retain fourth place thanks to a late Hearts’ revival at Easter Road. The stakes for Wednesday’s encounter against Hibs have just been raised!