Last time out vs Celtic
Motherwell hosted Celtic back in December in the third meeting between the two sides this season in what was a dramatic clash.
And despite taking a two goal lead in to the break, the Steelmen suffered an agonising 3-4 loss at Fir Park.
A wonder goal from Louis Moult in the third minute got the Steelmen off to a dream start and ended Celtic’s 10-hour period without conceding in the league – before the forward added a second to go in to the break with a two goal cushion.
That was followed by a frantic second half, and a more frantic three minute spell, in which Celtic clawed back in to the game and eventually scored a last minute winner.
Mark McGhee named two changes to the side that lost 3-0 away to Hearts prior to the match, with Stevie Hammell returning to the starting eleven in place of Jack McMillan and Ross MacLean in for David Ferguson, as the manager switched to a back four.
Celtic, fresh off their League Cup triumph over Aberdeen, named just one change – with veteran Kolo Toure stepping in for the in-form Erik Sviatchenko.
It was a dream start for the ‘Well when Louis Moult opened the scoring after just three minutes – and what a goal it was. An inch perfect ball over the top by McManus was anticipated superbly by Moult, who sprung the offside trap and with the inside of his right boot, lifted the ball over the helpless Gordon.
The Steelmen went close to a second in the 16th minute and again the move started off from the left boot of Stephen McManus. The centre-back swept a fantastic ball out wide to Tait, who cushioned it neatly back inside towards Moult who pulled off an outstanding back-heel pass to Cadden to get in behind the Celtic defence. The midfielder pulled it back but Simunovic intercepted to clear the danger.
Celtic enjoyed long spells of possession in the opening 20 minutes, but failed to create any clear cut chances and ‘Well stopper Craig Samson was untested.
Cadden was proving to be too much to handle for full-back Izaguirre and in the 25th minute won a free kick in a dangerous area after the defender hacked him down. From the set piece, Stevie Hammell whipped in a wonderful ball which Heneghan headed low on target, but Gordon gathered comfortably.
Two minutes later and the Fir Parkers were inches from a second and it was Moult looking dangerous again. Cadden enjoyed plenty of space to storm into down the right and fired a great ball low across the box. Moult got a touch on it with his right foot but it wasn’t quite enough and it flew narrowly past Gordon’s far post.
Celtic were limited to efforts from outside the box and Armstrong went closest with a good strike from range, but Samson confidently saw it wide.
Izaguirre was substituted after 29 minutes as manager Brendan Rodgers took no risks, swiftly withdrawing the defender after he found himself in the book early doors – he was replaced by Callum McGregor.
In the 35th minute, Fir Park erupted as Moult got his second and doubled his side’s lead. Youngster MacLean sent another inch perfect cross towards the back post, eliminating Celtic’s entire defence from the play and allowing Moult to stride in and send another volley past Gordon, this time beating the stopper at his near post.
Some neat footwork by Dembele on the stroke of half time created a half chance for the forward, but he blazed his strike high and wide.
Three minutes after the break, Celtic pulled one back through McGregor who played a neat one-two in to the box, finishing low past Samson.
The goal spurred the visitors in to life and Motherwell were on the back foot for much of the opening ten minutes of the second half.
Rogic, growing ever more influential in the middle of the park, tested Samson from close range but the ‘keeper did well to make himself big and block the goal bound effort.
Two minutes later James Forrest burst past Stevie Hammell to create the space he needed to fizz a low cross in front of goal, but it flew by untouched and eventually trickled out for a ‘Well throw.
Samson produced a fine save to deny Rogic again in the 65th minute, getting across well to palm away to safety and deny the ball from curling in to the top corner.
The tireless Chris Cadden was forced to leave the field when he went down injured, he was replaced by Lionel Ainsworth with 22 minutes remaining.
But almost instantly after the change, Celtic drew level when Patrick Roberts latched on to a good cross at the back post and head into the ground past Samson, and the equaliser was the first of an outrageous three minute goal spree.
Immediately down the other end from kick-off, Stevie Hammell sent in a delightful cross to the back post where Ainsworth was waiting to volley past Gordon.
Celtic responded in the same manner, this time Stuart Armstrong, who latched on to a neat through ball from Roberts, was gifted too much space in the box and the Scottish midfielder passed it low past Samson to level the scoring.
Mark McGhee made his second change of the afternoon at that point, bringing off Ross MacLean for Jack McMillan.
Richard Tait did well to win a corner for the Fir Parkers in the 84th minute, and from the following delivery McManus got his head on it and turned it towards goal, but it was a little too central and Gordon held it.
In heart breaking fashion, Celtic snatched the lead right at the moment the fourth official indicated the additional time to be added. Tom Rogic shifted the ball on to his right foot and fired low past Samson into the far corner.
The table toppers held on for the final minutes to secure the three points, but it was a spirited Motherwell performance at Fir Park and a sickening blow for the Steelmen to concede so late.