MOTHERWELL 0-4 CELTIC
5th February 2020
Celtic continued their 100% start to the new year last night after a magnificent second-half performance carried the hoops to a resounding 4-0 win over Motherwell at Fir Park.
The champions didn’t have everything their own way though as the steelmen more than a matched the bhoys in the first half before Neil Lennon’s side turned on the style after the break to come away with a comfortable four-goal victory by the end of the game.
The Celtic manager, sticking with the same 3-5-2 formation deployed successfully in the previous two games, made only one change from Sunday’s victory at Hamilton with Jozo Simunovic taking the place of Stephen Welsh at the back and it didn’t take long for the hoops to spring into action.
Only 9 minutes were on the clock when Odsonne Edouard slotted the ball past Mark Gillespie in the Motherwell goal to give the celts an early lead after a fantastic tackle from Leigh Griffiths in his own half set up a slick counter-attack as the Frenchman exchanged passes with Callum McGregor before finding the back of the net at the second time of asking.
It was a great piece of tracking back from the Celtic number 9 and it wouldn’t take long before he would have a chance of his own, firing over from an Olivier Ntcham cutback to the edge of the six-yard box soon after.
The Celts appeared to have started where they left off at Hamilton with Edouard’s early finish carrying on the momentum after three late goals at New Douglas Park on Sunday. However, this was about as much attacking play as the Celts would offer in the first half as Motherwell then gained the attacking initiative for the rest of the opening period despite the hoops dominating possession.
From then on, it was a half of chances squandered for the Lanarkshire side though as despite going close on a number of occasions, they could not find a way to put the ball into the Celtic net.
Ex-Newcastle player Rolando Aarons came the closest for the steelmen as he hit the post and forced a great reflex save from Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster as the Steelmen tried to push for an equaliser with no success but Celtic went in at half time with their 1 goal lead intact.
The complexion of the game would change drastically in the second half though as the hoops took things up a gear and came flying out of the blocks as they upped the tempo significantly.
In fact, it was only 6 minutes into the second half before the hoops managed to double their lead and it was Griffiths who got the goal as he dug the ball out of his feet well to finish low into the net after receiving a cross from Callum McGregor.
The Scotland striker was clearly hungry for goals and a few minutes later, he was almost at it again as he headed an Edouard cross onto the bar before some more fantastic work from the Scotland international almost led to a third again as his sublime backheeled pass paved the way for Edouard to find Ntcham before the Frenchman blazed over the bar with a chance that was probably easier to score than miss.
The celts were playing at full throttle now and even Celtic captain Scott Brown went close as the hoops continued to assault the Motherwell goal as the skipper had a deflected shot saved by Gillespie.
The chances kept coming and it wouldn’t be long before the third goal arrived as Callum McGregor finished off a fantastic team move with a sublime volley after teeing himself up following a great run and cross from winger James Forrest.
It was a terrific goal and the Celts were playing with real confidence at this point as every attack looked like it would increase the scoreline and when Declan Gallagher fouled Ryan Christie on the edge of the box with 10 minutes to go, there was only one outcome as Edouard stepped up and placed the resulting free-kick perfectly over the wall and into the net via the left hand post.
That fantastic free-kick was the icing on the cake for Celtic in what had been one of the team’s most complete performances of the season in the second half and simply confirmed another result that puts extreme pressure on the chasing pack with the gap between the champions and second place now lying at 7 points and 12 extra goals as the celts look to kick on and retain the league title in the coming months.
MAN OF THE MATCH
The Frenchman got the bhoys off and running in the first half and kicked on in the second period to show his class and composure on the ball in abundance.
He was involved in everything and should have had a couple of assists before scoring his second of the game with another free-kick as the striker looks to be turning into a bit of set-piece specialist.
It’s 20 goals in 22 league games now for Edouard and he shows no sign of slowing down any time soon. In fact, he seems to be getting better and better every game as he new partnership with Leigh Griffiths appears to have taken his game up another level.
The champions travel to Clyde in the Scottish Cup on Sunday as they look to keep their bid for the quadruple treble on track. It’s the first time Celtic have travelled to Broadwood since losing there in 2006 when a Gordon Strachan side featuring Roy Keane was knocked out of the cup by the then first division side. Neil Lennon’s men will be hoping to avoid a repeat of that day as the go into the game in terrific form.
17 Aarons (Seedorf 57')
9 Long (Manzinga 71')
14 Hylton (MacIver 71')
21 Ntcham (Rogic 86')
9 Griffiths (Christie 71')
22 Edouard (Klimala 83')
Goals: Edouard 9, Griffiths 51, McGregor 75, Edouard 80.