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Celtic beat Motherwell to maintain lead


Moussa Dembele scores

Moussa Dembele netted for the 13th time this season

Celtic maintained their four-point lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership with victory over Motherwell.

After a strong start from the hosts, they went ahead through Scott Sinclair’s strike.

Moussa Dembele and Kieran Tierney fired against the goal frame as Celtic’s dominance continued.

Craig Samson made some fine saves for Motherwell but then fouled Dembele and could not keep out the Frenchman’s penalty.

Finishers on form

Home manager Brendan Rodgers knows he has a frontline that can strike fear into most domestic defences and, despite it not quite clicking as efficiently as it has been recently, his two most potent predators still managed to find the net.

Sinclair’s opener had been coming despite Motherwell containing the champions well in the opening 15 minutes.

He latched on to a James Forrest cross from the right-hand side after Dembele had a fresh-air swing, was quick to pounce and his left foot shot gave Craig Sampson no chance.

Dembele’s own goal contribution may have come from the spot late in the match, but once again his pace and movement meant a torrid afternoon for Motherwell’s back four.

Steelmen show mettle

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Tierney almost got his second Celtic goal

The visitors could have crumbled after the opening goal – better teams have in the east end of Glasgow recently – but they remained organised and composed throughout the match.

Well manager Mark McGhee had set up to frustrate Celtic in the middle of the park and decided to allow the home side possession in the wide areas.

It was a bold move and, in terms of keeping the score line respectable, it worked.

The Fir Park side also had their goalkeeper to thank for the relatively narrow defeat.

Sampson pulled off three top-class saves – the pick of the lot perhaps a low dive to claw away a deflected Scott Brown effort midway through the second half.

Tantalising Tierney

It’s a rare thing in Scotland to see a left-back receive a standing ovation for an effort on goal, but Kieran Tierney is a rare talent.

In the second half, he jinked and danced his way past three Motherwell defenders inside the box, but his close-range effort smashed agonisingly against the crossbar.

Celtic Park rose as one to salute the skill and the effort – the 19-year-old now a firm fans favourite – and it’s easy to see why with every passing performance.

It’s progress of a kind for Motherwell, who left Celtic Park in August with a 5-0 thumping – and a similar scoreline never looked likely this time around.

Celtic played within themselves, though, and they’ll have to find their extra gear if they’re to record another memorable result in the Champions League when Borussia Monchengladbach come calling on Wednesday night.

Reaction

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers: “I said to the players before the game for us to succeed it’s not just about us being hungry for the success, it’s about being starving.

“You have to really, really push yourself in moments when you think things are gone and you have to fight.

“That (Dembele winning the penalty) was a perfect example of the spirit in the team in that they will chase everything.

“That looked like it was dead and was going to go through to the keeper but he made it something. The best strikers do that and create something out of nothing or make something for themselves.

“He made the penalty through his endeavour. Forget about his quality, that’s about a mind-set to get there and he tucked it away really well.”

Motherwell manager Mark McGhee: “I thought Ross MacLean was terrific. David Ferguson is a great athlete.

“He is quick but still has 10 or 12 pounds to put on before he is going to be the full specimen and Jack McMillan the same. So we have a lot of work to do with these boys.

“But it shows you the raw material coming through from Scott Leitch’s academy.

“Stephen Craigan is working with them at Under-20 level and we are top of that league, winning games and we are getting them in our team.

“That is the important thing. That is what Motherwell have to do, we have to breed young players that are going to fill the boots of those who are stepping on.”

Live Text

Match ends, Celtic 2, Motherwell 0.

Second Half ends, Celtic 2, Motherwell 0.

Goal! Celtic 2, Motherwell 0. Moussa Dembele (Celtic) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner.

Penalty Celtic. Moussa Dembele draws a foul in the penalty area.

Penalty conceded by Craig Samson (Motherwell) after a foul in the penalty area.

Substitution, Celtic. Kolo Touré replaces James Forrest.

Attempt missed. Louis Moult (Motherwell) header from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the left following a set piece situation.

Foul by Erik Sviatchenko (Celtic).

Ryan Bowman (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Liam Henderson (Celtic).

Jake Hastie (Motherwell) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Attempt missed. Moussa Dembele (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.

Substitution, Motherwell. Jake Hastie replaces Ross MacLean.

Louis Moult (Motherwell) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Liam Henderson (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Louis Moult (Motherwell).

Attempt missed. Ryan Bowman (Motherwell) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is close, but misses to the right.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Richard Tait.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Craig Samson.

Attempt saved. Scott Sinclair (Celtic) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the top right corner.

Attempt missed. Patrick Roberts (Celtic) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

Scott Brown (Celtic) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Attempt blocked. Scott Brown (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Foul by Moussa Dembele (Celtic).

Craig Clay (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt blocked. Scott Sinclair (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Foul by Scott Brown (Celtic).

Richard Tait (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt saved. James Forrest (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Attempt missed. Ross MacLean (Motherwell) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

Attempt saved. Louis Moult (Motherwell) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Substitution, Celtic. Patrick Roberts replaces Stuart Armstrong.

Substitution, Celtic. Leigh Griffiths replaces Cristian Gamboa.

Substitution, Motherwell. David Ferguson replaces Jack McMillan because of an injury.

Delay in match Jack McMillan (Motherwell) because of an injury.

Attempt saved. Louis Moult (Motherwell) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Foul by Cristian Gamboa (Celtic).

Ryan Bowman (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Scott Sinclair (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Richard Tait.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/37594146