The Mighty ‘Well took a point at Parkhead after a Kevin van Veen equaliser earned a 1-1 draw. Hard work brought its reward.
A defensive master class and a moment of magic were needed to make Motherwell the first team to take a point from the Celtic fortress.
Dean Cornelius and Mikael Mandron were replaced by Harry Paton and Callum Slattery as the visitors kicked off in the east end sunshine. Within seconds van Veen was in possession on the right of the penalty area. His shot was wide but a corner followed.
Kevin laps up the applause
That was Mothewell’s contribution to attacking play finished for the first half. What followed was wave after wave of Celtic attacks as Stuart Kettlewell’s defensive plan attempted to build a shell around Liam Kelly.
The ‘keeper had to make three outstanding saves in the game, the first when he stopped a Maeda header.
Probes down both flanks were repelled but midway through the half Callum McGregor tried his luck from 25 yards and with the help of a deflection the ball beat Kelly. The home side continued to spray passes around but they had little penetration. Half time was reached without further loss.
The first of four Motherwell substitutions came five minutes after the break when Dan Casey limped off, Shane Blaney came off the bench. Kelly produced an outstretched arm to beat away a Kyogo lob.
The game turned after 55 minutes when Slattery released van Veen on the right. The striker collected and ran forty yards and escaped the attention of Taylor to fire beyond Joe Hart. The goal, in front of the away enclave, allowed the hero time to enjoy the fans’ celebrations.
The setback knocked the smooth Celtic machine into disarray. Although they kept the bulk of possession passes started to go astray and as the clock ticked on their desperation became more obvious.
It was no surprise to see the visitors using every ploy to slow the game and they had to endure a tense seven added minutes.
By the final whistle the stadium had half emptied but the ‘Well support remained to cheer their heroes. A great defensive performance and an on form striker deserved the point.
Celtic 1 Motherwell 1
Team: Kelly, Johnston, Casey (Blaney 49), Butcher, McGinn, Furlong (O’Donnell 78), Spittall, Goss, Slattery (Aitchison 92), Paton, (Miller 78), Van Veen
Saturday 22 April 2023