Celtic 5 – 0 Motherwell
Phil McGhee at Celtic Park
Motherwell crashed out of the Betfred Cup with a painful 5-0 defeat at the home of Premiership Champions Celtic.
The Steelmen were aiming to improve dramatically from their last visit to Celtic Park on the final day of last season when they were hammered 7-0.
And although the scoreline reflected another handsome win for the Parkhead men, in truth had it not been for a handful of wonderful saves from Craig Samson, ‘Well’s exit from the Betfred cup would have been a lot more severe.
However, on the day that the Fir Park club signed free agent Craig Clay on a permanent contract, Celtic’s multimillion pound signings, and in particular Moussa Dembele and Scott Sinclair showed the gulf in resources both off and on the park.
Mark McGhee made two changes from the side that won at Rugby Park on Saturday. Keith Lasley returning at the expense injured Carl McHugh, with Joe Chalmers’ starting wide left in a back five, charged with the responsibility of tracking his former team-mate James Forrest.
For almost 20 minutes the Fir Park men contained the home side to a couple of tame shots which caused little concern for Samson. In the 16th minute the ‘Well stopper was required to make the first of some key saves when he dived full length to push away Sinclair’s curling shot.
Three minutes later, though, Samson was helpless as Celtic made the breakthrough. Callum McGregor found the unmarked Tom Rogic who took a touch before swivelling and lashing the ball high into the net from 10 yards.
Motherwell came close to an immediate reply when Scott McDonald nodded Marvin Johnson’s cross back for Craig Clay but he screwed his shot across goal and beyond the post.
The ‘Well goal had a amazing escape after 28 minutes as Samson made a remarkable double save to deny Rogic, with Moussa Dembele rattling the ball off the crossbar in between.
As the Steelmen failed to match Celtic’s speed of thought and movement Rogic found space to have another crack at goal which Samson was again at full stretch to push away.
Just when ‘Well looked to have survived the onslaught Celtic were gifted a soft penalty. Richard Tait was too close on the hot heels of Sinclair as they raced into the box and Dembele calmly lifted the resultant spot kick past the diving Samson to make it 2-0.
Samson was then the hero with a wonderful triple save to deny Sinclair and Rogic in quick succession as Celtic threatened to ram home their advantage.
Amazingly, having been fortunate to be only two behind, Motherwell came close to grabbing a couple of goals before the break.
Four minutes from half-time Clay slipped the ball through to Johnson who turned at the corner of the box before bending a shot beyond the diving Craig Gordon and narrowly past the post.
Three minutes later the Parkhead ‘keeper reacted smartly to get down and smother the ball on his line as Johnson’s cross took a flick off Ben Heneghen inside the six yard box.
Motherwell’s towering central defender came close again within a minute of the restart when he climbed highest in a packed Celtic box to power Chalmer’s corner down but wide of the back post.
With Lionel Ainsworth on for Hammell Motherwell appeared to have regained some confidence but very quickly Samson was in the thick of it with a couple of smart saves from Sinclair and Scott Brown.
Johnson dragged a shot across the face of the home goal and after a neat exchange with Chris Cadden, Scott McDonald fired his shot over the bar as ‘Well looked for a goal to get themselves back into the tie.
However, a double inside three minutes from Sinclair and Dembelle killed off ‘Well’s chances of a fightback and interest in the League Cup.
Celtic rounded off the scoring when Samson did well to parry Forrest’s angled drive but the ‘keeper was helpless as Rogic rolled the loose ball over the line and complete Motherwell’s misery.
In the final minute McDonald summed up ‘Well’s night when he screwed the ball past the post from four yards after Gordon could only palm out Johnson’s stinging drive – the striker’s blushes only slightly reduced by the assistant’s raised flag for offside.
Lewis Irons at Celtic Park
FULL TIME | Celtic 5 – 0 Motherwell #CFCvMFC
81′ | 5-0
Celtic make their final change, Janko off for Ralston.
76′ | 5-0
Goal – Rogic gets his second of the game, following in a Samson save and poking into the net.
72′ | 4-0
Celtic make a second change, Brown off for Henderson
68′ | 4-0
Celtic sub, Lustig off for McCart.
64′ | 4-0
Goal – Dembele gets another, and again he’s not had to work hard for it. 4-0.
61′ | 3-0
Goal – Sinclair cuts in from the left all too easily and picks his spot past Samson. 3-0 to Celtic.
56′ | 2-0
Clay slides in Johnson who puts on the burners but it’s too narrow an angle to trouble Gordon and goes out for a goal kick
52′ | 2-0
Too close for comfort as Dembele turns Heneghan inside the box and hooks his shot just over the bar.
48′ | 2-0
Up the other end, Dembele drills one from just inside the box but Samson makes the save
46′ | 2-0
Early chance as Heneghan rises to meet a corner but nods just past the post.
Second half underway…
Half time sub, Ainsworth on for Hammell….
HALF TIME’ | Celtic 2 – 0 Motherwell
43′ | 2-0
Half chance there for ‘Well as Johnson’s cross is scuffed goalwards but Gordon anticipates it and gets down to make the stop.
40′ | 2-0
Close!! Clay thread in Johnson who curls his shot inches past the post!
38′ | 2-0
Desperate defending there from ‘Well! Sinclair is slid in but Samson is again to the rescue, saving from Sinclair then Rogic!
33′ | 2-0
Goal – Dembele sends Samson the wrong way to put Celtic 2-0 up.
33′ | 1-0
Celtic have a penalty…
31′ | 1-0
Samson is a busy man and is again called into action, diving to his right to put Rogic’s shot past the post.
30′ | 1-0
Good play from Chalmers to break away from Janko, he clips the ball over to McDonald but ref says the Aussie fouled his man
27′ | 1-0
A let off! Rogic’s shot is well saved by Sammy then Dembele strikes the bar and again Rogic has a shot which is turned wide!
22′ | 1-0]
Chance! Loose ball is volleyed by Clay from 18 yards but it’s wide of the post!
19′ | 1-0
Goal – Rogic opens the scoring for Celtic, latching onto McGregor’s clipped ball and firing well beyond Samson.
16′ | 0-0
Sinclair cuts in of the left and fires at goal but again Samson is equal to it, palming it away to safety.
11′ | 0-0
‘Well sat in pretty deep but Celtic work some space allowing McGregor to get a shot away but it’s saved by Samson.
4′ | 0-0
Celtic with the first chance. Dembele with the effort after a mazy run from Sinclair. Easily dealt with by Samson though.
Celtic get the game underway. COYW!!!
Both sides emerge from the tunnel, ‘Well in their denim blue away kit. COYW!!
Motherwell manager Mark McGhee:
“I don’t think for a minute that that will be the worst result for a team here this season,” said the Well manager. When they get going like that and their finishing is a little bit better it could be more.
“Our goalkeeper played particularly well. There will be a day when a team’s goalkeeper doesn’t play that well and it will be more.
“They do have to keep these players fit. That is an aspect of it. And these players have to keep that form going. We can take things from it in that young players like Cadden and Marvin Johnson can see how their strikers went about their game and aspire to that.
Celtic Manager Brendan Rogers:
|Craig Gordon||Craig Samson|
|Saidy Janko (Ralston ’81)||Richard Tait|
|Mikel Lustig (McCart ’68)||Stevie Hammell (Ainsworth ’45)|
|Eoghan O’Connell||Ben Heneghan|
|Emilio Izaguirre||Stephen McManus|
|Callum McGregor||Marvin Johnson|
|Scott Brown (Henderson ’72)||Chris Cadden|
|James Forrest||Keith Lasley|
|Tom Rogic||Joe Chalmers|
|Scott Sinclair||Craig Clay|
|Moussa Dembele||Scott McDonald|
|Leo Fasan||Dean Brill|
|Nadir Ciftci||Louis Laing|
|Stuart Armstrong||David Ferguson|
|Ryan Christie||Dom Thomas|
|Jamie McCart||Lionel Ainsworth|
|Liam Henderson||Lee Lucas|
|Anthony Ralston||Dylan Mackin|
|16||Shots on target||0|
|10||Shots off target||4|
|Referee: Kevin Clancy|