Celtic: A closer look

Friday, February 17, 2017
Celtic: A closer look

Motherwell make the short trip to Glasgow tomorrow to take on league leaders Celtic in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

And after Wednesday night’s heavy defeat to Aberdeen, the Steelmen will be hungry to get back to action quickly, but face a tough test.

Under Brendan Rodgers, Celtic have gone undefeated in the league and have only dropped points in an away game against Inverness CT back in September.

But for ‘Well assistant manager James McFadden, that adds incentive for the Steelmen to not only bounce back, but also put an end to the Hoops winning run.

The Fir Park number two said: “We’ve done well against Celtic this season, albeit we’ve lost but especially the last home game we felt we did well, we came up with a game plan that almost worked.

“Everybody expects Celtic to roll over the top of us but we don’t. We’re going to go there and fight, we’re going to show everybody that we’re up for it and we want to go and be the team that stops the run that Celtic are on.”

In terms of league fixtures, Celtic head in to Saturday’s 3pm kick off on the back of a 5-2 victory over St Johnstone.

On the face of things, it was a dominant result for the Champions, but in truth, Rodgers men had to work hard after going in to the break 2-1 behind.

Motherwell face a mental battle to bounce back from what was undoubtedly the worst result of the season, yet after 24 games, the Fir Parkers are only one point behind sixth placed Kilmarnock and will arrive at Parkhead full of desire.

Mark McGhee will be without the suspended duo of Carl McHugh and Richard Tait, while Celtic will have Leigh Griffiths and Tom Rogic out through injury.

 

He scored a brace when Celtic arrived at Fir Park back at the start of December and is the last player to score a winning goal at Parkhead in the league, so Louis Moult is undoubtedly one to watch tomorrow.

And ahead of the match at Parkhead, the forward insisted that the Fir Parkers must have belief.

The 24-year-old believes it is key to preparations following Wednesday nights “horrible” defeat away to Aberdeen.

He said: “It’s obviously going to be difficult but we’ve got to go there with belief and believe we can cause an upset.

It’s obviously going to be difficult but we’ve got to go there with belief and believe we can cause an upset.

“We did it last season, we were 2-0 up at half time earlier this season too so we’ve got to go there believing we can do something.”

He added: “To get beat 7-2 is horrible. I didn’t get much sleep that night and I’m sure the lads didn’t either.

Myself and the boys will most likely have the result on Wednesday in the back of our minds, but we’ll also be thinking about the time that we went there and beat them.

“We have to move on from that it was a horrible night but we need to forget about that and try and cause an upset.”

Moult scored one of the contenders for goal of the season when he lobbed Craig Gordon inside three minutes and the forward admitted that previous performances against the runaway league leaders can give the Steelmen confidence.

He said: “That goal is definitely one of my favourites that I’ve scored but things obviously didn’t turn out how we would’ve liked.

“Myself and the boys will most likely have the result on Wednesday in the back of our minds, but we’ll also be thinking about the time that we went there and beat them.”

 

The prospect of facing Celtic in their current form is a daunting one for every side in the league as they remain unbeaten under Brendan Rodgers.

And tomorrow presents the Hoops with a chance to rack up their 20th straight victory in the Premiership.

Summer signings Scott Sinclair and Moussa Dembele are obvious threats for tomorrow’s hosts, with the two contributing directly to 54 goals in all competitions this season.

However, one of the main strengths Celtic have is depth, with the likes of James Forrest, Stuart Armstrong, Gary Mackay-Steven, Tom Rogic, Patrick Roberts, Kris Commons and Callum McGregor competing for spots in midfield.

The absence of Tom Rogic could have been a big loss for the Champions, but with other stars like Liam Henderson coming in to form, the depth at Rodgers disposal is evident.

Goals haven’t been an issue for the Glaswegians, and when both Dembele and Sinclair were out of action recently, important goals came from other areas of the pitch.

Dedryck Boyata popped up with two crucial winning goals against both Aberdeen and St Johnstone and is one of the numerous examples of players rediscovering or even finding their best form under their Northern Irish manager.

Currently 24 points clear of second placed Aberdeen, Celtic could potentially wrap up the title by mid March.

But Brendan Rodgers and his team will be well aware that the last team to beat them at Parkhead was Mark McGhee’s Motherwell last season.

Ahead of tomorrow’s clash, both sides will be full of desire for different reasons, but it makes for an interesting encounter.

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