Phil McGhee at Celtic Park
A hugely disappointing performance ensured Motherwell failed to repeat their December victory at Celtic Park.
‘Well lost six goals in a 38-minute blitz as the league champions ran riot against a knackered-looking visitors.
Three goals inside seven minutes midway through the first half finished the game and another quick treble early in the second sealed ‘Well’s fate, before a late seventh rubbed salt into the wounds.
For the second consecutive season the Fir Park men concluded their season facing up to the ‘Old Firm’. Unlike last season’s dramatic win over Rangers to retain their Premiership status, this encounter at sun-drenched Parkhead was a totally one-sided affair with ‘Well fans having absolutely nothing to celebrate.
Injury and suspension hampered Motherwell’s selection with Stevie Hammell and Keith Lasley missing, forcing two changes in the ‘Well ranks, with youngster Luke Watt coming in at right back and Lionel Ainsworth restored to the left flank in front of Marvin Johnston.
Following a couple of comfortable saves, Connor Ripley was forced into the first of several crucial stops, blocking Ryan Christie’s stab at goal from six yards. In the 13th minute the ‘Well ‘keeper produced a spectacular stop to palm Tom Rogic’s dipping volley over his cross bar.
From the resultant corner Morgaro Gomis booted Mickael Lustig’s header off the goal line.
Ripley came to the rescue again after 18 minutes when Christie darted through but the ‘Well ‘keeper again raced from his line to block the striker’s effort.
The home side’s pressure paid off three minutes later when Motherwell-born fullback Kieran Tierney was allowed to drag the ball across the box before slamming a low right foot shot beyond the despairing Ripley. There were questions of offside, with Christie standing in an offside position, blocking the goalkeeper’s view, but there was no bail out from the assistant referee.
Five minutes later Celtic doubled their lead. Stuart Armstrong worked a one-two at the edge of the box, but a fortuitous touch off Chris Cadden carried him beyond the ‘Well defence and when his shot rebounded from the post, Rogic was unchallenged as he tapped the ball into the empty goal.
Before Motherwell could rally, they found themselves three down. Both Ripley and Pearson got caught under Armstrong’s in-swinging corner and Lustig rose unchallenged at the back post to nod the ball down and over the line.
In truth the damage could have been worse before ‘Well regrouped and reshaped at half-time. With Kieran Kennedy and Joe Chalmers in the respective full back berths the Fir Park men made a positive start to the second half.
However, that challenge evaporated five minutes into the half when Armstrong’s volley from 12 yards made it 4-0. Within eight minutes, Roberts curled one into the corner and Christie rolled another under Ripley as Celtic effortlessly made it 6-0.
Ripley was helpless on those occasions but the ‘keeper produced another diving save to deny Callum McGregor. Christie then rattled a shot off the post before substitute Jack Aitchison got in off an unlucky Stephen Pearson and made in 7-0 with his first touch of the match.
Motherwell’s day was summed up when Craig Gordon made his first and only save 10 minutes from time, admittedly a smart stop to push a Gomis drive round the post.
It was a dreadful afternoon for the Steelmen, but the loss didn’t dent their league position after confirming fifth in the table during the week.
[tab:As it happened]
Ally Reilly at Celtic Park
FT: Celtic 7 – 0 Motherwell
84′ | 7-0
Celtic sub, Armstrong off for Janko.
81′ | 7-0
Gomis’ shot from distance is palmed wide of the post. Corner is easily dealt with.
77′ | 7-0
Goal – Loose ball falls to Aitchison inside the box and he slots it home to make it 7.
75′ | 6-0
Celtic sub, Aitchison on for Rogic
69′ | 6-0
Christie strikes the post and thankfully the ball comes out off Ripley and wide for a corner.
66′ | 6-0
Roberts cuts inside and gets a shot away which Ripley does well to tip around the post.
64′ | 6-0
Cadden down receiving treatment after being absolutely clattered by Sviatchenko in front of the dugout
59′ | 6-0
Goal – It’s 6. Christie with acres of time and space to fire past Ripley. This is absolutely woeful stuff.
56′ | 5-0
First proper sniff at goal and it comes from a McManus header which loops just over the bar.
56′ | 5-0
Celtic sub, Tierney off for Izaguirre.
55′ | 5-0
Goal – Roberts adds a fifth with a low curling shot from outside the box.
50′ | 4-0
Goal – Armstrong volleys into the top corner from inside the box.
49′ | 3-0
Positive play from Cadden wins a corner…..but it’s easily headed away by Lustig.
Celtic get the second 45 underway.
Double Motherwell change, Chalmers and Kennedy on for Ainsworth and Watt #CFCvMFC
HT: Celtic 3 – 0 Motherwell #CFCvMFC
41′ | 3-0
Should have been four after Ripley saves Rogic’s shot and Christie fires over from 12 yards with an open goal to aim for
28′ | 3-0
Goal – It’s three and all too easy for Celtic. Lustig heads home unmarked at the back post.
26′ | 2-0
Goal – Celtic double their lead, Rogic tapping in after Armstrong’s shot hit the post.
21′ | 1-0
Goal – That’s been coming. Tierney cuts infield and fires low beyond Ripley from 20 yards. 1-0 to Celtic.
19′ | 0-0
Ripley is going to be a busy man! Saves yet again from Christie, who was slid in by Roberts
14′ | 0-0
Ripley again with a fine save, this time from a long range Rogic drive which was heading into the top corner!
12′ | 0-0
Johansen drags his left-footed shot well wide of the post. All Celtic so far…
7′ | 0-0
Great save Ripley! Christie looks certain to open the scoring but the big stopper spreads himself well and makes the block.
4′ | 0-0
Ripley is forced into action, diving low to his right to deny Christie, who had shot from the edge of the box.
2′ | 0-0
Early chances for Celtic. First Rogic’s shot is deflected wide then Lustig heads over the bar from the corner.
Pearson and Gomis get the action underway. #COYW
Motherwell manager Mark McGhee:
Celtic Manager Ronny Deila