A dogged and determined Motherwell earned a deserved point after holding Celtic to a 1-1 draw this afternoon.
Sutton opened the scoring in the 19th minute before missing a great chance to double the lead from six yards with the home team booed off at the interval.
Celtic skipper Scott Brown and Kris Commons, two of the six players left out by Deila as he rang the changes, came on for the start of the second half with Brown earning a disputed 67th-minute penalty, which Commons converted.
The hosts threw everything forward, but the resolute Steelmen saw the match out to claim their first point from Celtic Park in almost five years.
Zaine Francis-Angol and Fraser Kerr returned for the starting line-up in place of Paul Lawson and Lee Erwin, both of whom had to be content with a place amongst the substitutes.
After Thursday’s 2-2 Europa League draw with Salzburg and with Hearts due to visit in the League Cup next Wednesday, Ronnie Delia took the opportunity to utilise his squad.
Lukasz Zaluska was given a rare start in goal while midfielders Beram Kayal, Nir Bitton and Aleksandar Tonev, plus strikers Anthony Stokes and John Guidetti were also brought in with the Swede making his first start since signing on a loan deal from Manchester City.
Brown, Commons, Craig Gordon and Stefan Scepovic started on the bench while Stefan Johansen and Mubarak Wakaso were out altogether.
It was a cagey start, with the hosts seeing most of the ball without really troubling Dan Twardzik. ‘Well came close in the 12th minute when midfielder Iain Vigurs drove just wide from the edge of the box after Sutton set him up with a header.
The next time the visitors went up the park with any real purpose they took the lead.
When Craig Reid’s cross from the right sped to the front post Sutton forced himself in front of Hoops defender Jason Denayer to volley past Zaluska, stunning the home fans and sending the away fans into raptures.
Moments later, with the shock of the goal still reverberating around the stadium, Twardzik made a decent save from Denayer’s 30-yard drive.
However, the Steelmen were growing in belief and should have added a second in the 27th minute when skipper Keith Lasley’s blocked shot from inside the box landed at the feet of the unmarked Sutton but he somehow failed to hit the target from six yards.
Stuart McCall’s side were doing a fine job frustrating the Hoops. There was a huge claim for a penalty for the visitors when Iain Vigurs cross/shot clearly struck the elbow of Denayer. Despite the howls of protest from the former Inverness midfielder, and his teammates, referee Brian Colvin wasn’t interested.
In the 33rd minute Kayal’s drive from the edge of the box escaped the far post and five minutes from the break, Virgil van Dijk got on the end of a Stokes cross only to see Twardzik make a brilliant save from his close-range header.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Brown and Commons replaced Kayal and Tonev respectively for the start of the second period and the home side looked to take a grip of the game.
Wide man Callum McGregor drew another fine save from Twardzik in the 56th minute as Motherwell did there all to crowd out Celtic’s attacks.
However, it would be in controversial circumstances that Celtic would draw level. Scott Brown drove at goal and was clipped by Lasley outside the area. He went tumbling into the box, only to clatter into Law before hitting the deck.
Colvin, who had earlier infuriated the visitors by denying a spot kick, enraged them further by blowing for a penalty. Sub Commons was in no mood for mercy, calmly tucking the ball into the back of the net.
The home side pushed hard for the winner but found a stubborn backline and a on-form keeper. A deflected shot by McGregor almost wrong-footed Twardzik before Stokes and Bitton both had efforts which missed the target.
At the other end, with two minutes remaining, Francis-Angol almost won it. Law collected wide on the left and his delivery picked out the Antiguan, but he crashed his effort narrowly over.
Twardik made another great save from van Dijk as the game entered three added minutes but the Fir Parkers held on for a deserved point.
[tab:As it happened]
Ally Reilly at Celtic Park
A dogged performance from ‘Well!. Backs to the wall for most of it but a good point from Celtic Park #CFCvMFC
FT: Celtic 1 – 1 Motherwell #CFCvMFC
3 minutes added on.
…headed clear by Erwin #CFCvMFC
89mins: Corner to Celtic…
89mins: Great chance for Stokes but he fires straight at Twardzik with better options available. #CFCvMFC
87mins: A rare break forward for Motherwell but Law’s delivery for Francis-Angol is awkward and he can only volley wide #CFCvMFC
86mins: Free-kick to Celtic in a good position….Stokes blasts it well over.. #CFCvMFC
80mins: Another shot from range. This time it is Bitton who fires low and just wide #CFCvMFC
And another ‘Well sub, Vigurs off for Carswell #CFCvMFC
76mins: Celtic sub, Scepovic on for Guidettii #CFCvMFC
76mins: Motherwell sub, Erwin on for Sutton
75mins: Celtic piling on the pressure. McGregor bends his shot just past from inside the box. Earlier a deflection almost beats Twardzik
72mins: Vigurs booked for dissent after O’Brien is fouled but ref gives nothing #CFCvMFC
70mins: Izaguirre bursts into the box but can only produce a week effort which Twardzik deals with #CFCvMFC
GOAL! Commons coverts from the spot 1 – 1 #CFCvMFC
66mins: Penalty to Celtic #CFCvMFC
Commons bends it well over the bar #CFCvMFC
62mins: Free-kick to Celtic in a great area, 25 yards out……
58mins: Quick turn and shot from Guidetti on the edge of the box but sails harmlessly over the bar. #CFCvMFC
56mins: Great save from Twardzik to beat away McGregor’s shot after he cut in from the right wing! #CFCvMFC
53mins: McGregor sneaks in at the back post to meet the cross but can only find the side netting #CFCvMFC
49mins: Commons shoots from just outside through a ruck of bodies but it is straight at Twardzik. #CFCvMFC
Second half is underway Come on ‘Well!!! #CFCvMFC
Second half subs for Celtic, Brown and Commons on for Tonev and Kayal #CFCvMFC
HT: Celtic 0 – 1 Motherwell. Boo’s ringing out as ‘Well go into the break 1 up. #CFCvMFC
44mins: Corner to Celtic,defended well and evetually cleared #CFCvMFC
39mins: Great diving save from Twardzik to stop Van Dijk’s low header! #CFCvMFC
38mins: Izaquirre supplies a deep cross for Guidetti but his header floats harmlessly over #CFCvMFC
34mins: Kayal creates a bit of space on the edge of the box and has a shot with his left foot. Just wide of Twardzik’s right-hand post.
27mins: What a chance for Sutton!! Lasley’s shot spun up for him with only Zaluska to beat but the ‘keeper got a foot to it! #CFCvMFC
25mins: Lasley and Vigurs seem convinced Vigurs’ shot from inside the box had hit Van Dijk’s hand! Nothing given…. #CFCvMFC
21mins: Van Dijk ventures foward and has a shot from about 30 yards. Was a good effort but Twardzik deals with it with ease #CFCvMFC
19mins: SUTTON makes it 1-0 to ‘Well!! A good run from Reid who crosses from the right. Sutton does well to get to it and poke it home!!
15mins: Ramsden’s throws the ball in to Francis-Angol but as he tries to cross it on the spin, he slices it out of play #CFCvMFC
11mins: Again Twardzik has to be quick off his line, this time gathering at the feet of Bitton who was through on goal. #CFCvMFC
7mins: Izaguirre gets down the left but his cross is too close to Twardzik, who deals with it easily.
2mins: Twardzik has to get off his line quickly to sweep the ball clear from the onrushing Stokes #CFCvMFC
30 seconds: Celtic have 2 successive corners, Guidetti heads over at the near post #CFCvMFC
Lasley and Reid get the game underway #COYW ##CFCvMFC
Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:
“We could have done [got three points] but we’re delighted to get a goal, first and foremost, because we’ve not got a goal since I’ve been coming here.
“It was a great goal and Sutty could have had another straight after it. And but for a great save by (defender) Denayer in the box we could have had a penalty, I don’t think there’s any doubt about that.
“Today it was one penalty that should have been given and one that was given, but I don’t want to whinge about it.
“Second half we were camped in but first half we were excellent and I’m delighted with them.
“Dundee United, what a good side they can be, and they came here and lost six, and I saw Aberdeen here who, as well as they played in patches, could’ve lost more than two.
“So you’ve got to be careful you’re not just open. We played with a sitting midfielder and we had to do that.”
Celtic manager Ronny Deila:
“We played a very bad first half. We didn’t get any tempo in the play and we didn’t create any chances, and conceded a stupid goal as well.
“That was very bad but I think the second half was much better. We could have had one more.
“In the end the result is disappointing but I’m satisfied with the second half. We should have had more width to our play so we could have had more crosses into the box.”