Phil McGhee at Fir Park
Motherwell were denied being the team who ended Celtic’s long unbeaten run after a late penalty for the visitors ensured they left with a share of the spoils.
A tireless performance from Stephen Robinson’s men and Mikael Lustig’s own goal looked like securing the win that would stop the league leaders making it 66 domestic matches undefeated. But as they courageously defended their lead, in particular through an outstanding performance from Trevor Carson, they were again undone by a penalty decision with only four minutes remaining.
Andy Rose was adjudged to have fouled Callum McGregor on the byline, a decision the midfielder hotly disputed, and Scott Sinclair hammered home the debatable penalty.
Until then, Motherwell looked like holding on with a gritty performance which would have provided some degree of satisfaction and revenge after Sunday’s cup final defeat to the Parkhead side.
‘Well made three changes to the team that started at Hampden, with Allan Campbell returning to the middle and Elliot Frear wide on the left. Deimantas Petravicius also made his first start on the right flank.
The Fir Park players showed no signs of a cup hangover or self pity as they pressed towards Craig Gordon’s goal from the kick-off.
And within four minutes, Moult’s run along the goal line earned a corner. Chris Cadden’s in-swinger found Carl McHugh but from 10 yards his header flew over the bar.
At the other end Carson had little to do until the 20th minute, when the ‘keeper spread himself to block Callum McGregor’s low angled drive from the edge of the box.
Despite plenty of endeavour and some hearty challenges from both sides, neither goal was threatened, with another Cadden corner through a packed six yard box finding no takers.
In injury time, when it looked like being a first half stalemate for the second consecutive game, a series of slick Celtic passing sent Kieran Tierney through on goal.
From eight yards the fullback’s drilled shot appeared to be past Carson, until the ‘Well ‘keeper miraculously got a touch to deflect the ball up and over the crossbar for a breathtaking save.
In a bid to offer some resistance on the right flank, Rose replaced Petravicius at the interval. But it was almost deja vu within three minutes of the restart, when only some stout defending from ‘Well prevented Griffiths and James Forrest from opening the scoring.
As the Parkhead men started to look more menacing around the home goal, Carson produced another stunning save at full length to push McGregor’s fierce drive round the post.
In stark contrast, Gordon in the opposite goal was a relieved ‘keeper just two minutes later. His clearance landed at Cadden’s feet, with his immediate cross finding Moult with his back to goal. But his overhead effort sent the ball over an unguarded goal to save the goalkeeper’s blushes.
With 65 minutes played Craig Tanner replaced Frear and it was almost a dream introduction as within a minute. Tait’s cross picked him out unmarked in front of goal, only for Tanner to screw his header wide of a begging goal.
Tanner’s next effort was on target but his left foot shot was comfortably held by the Celtic ‘keeper.
With 18 minutes remaining, and to a chorus of boos from the home support, Scott Sinclair came on for Armstrong ,with Ryan Bowman replacing Carl McHugh as ‘Well chased all three points.
Six minutes later the Fir Parkers made the breakthrough. Cadden floated a free kick into a packed box and as pack of heads rose to meet it, the ball glanced off Mikael Lustig and beyond his despairing ‘keeper to put Motherwell in front with 12 minutes remaining.
It looked like Celtic were out of luck six minutes from time when Tom Rogic, who netted the injury time winner the last time the teams met at Fir Park, rattled the ball of the post with the ball kindly rebounding to the grounded Carson.
Two minutes later the ‘Well ‘keeper produced another stunning save. Having blocked McGregor from close range, Carson reacted quickly as the ball spiralled towards his goal stretching above the chasing Celtic midfielder to push the ball towards the corner flag.
But as Andy Rose was seeing the ball out of the box he collided with McGregor, who had raced back onto the field on his blind side. As the Celtic player stumbled to the ground, referee Willie Collum pointed to the penalty spot.
With more than touch of irony, Sinclair stepped up to confidently slam the spot kick high past Carson to leave the sides with a deserved share of the points each, and Celtic’s 66 game unbeaten run preserved.
[tab:As it happened]
Alastair Reilly at Fir Park
FULL TIME: Motherwell 1-1 Celtic
A fine performance from a spirited ‘Well side, cruelly denied by the late penalty kick.
90’ | 1-1
End to end finish to the game as Motherwell keep pressing to retake the lead. Three minutes added on.
87’ | 1-1
Scott Sinclair to take the spot kick… goal for Celtic
86’ | 1-0
Penalty to Celtic
85’ | 1-0
What a save Trevor Carson! Rogic’s shot cannons off the post but the keeper snatches it from rolling over the line.
80’ | 1-0
Celtic change. Mikael Lustig replaced by Odsonne Edouard.
78’ | 1-0
Craig Tanner’s free kick goes through a sea of bodies and it hits… somebody and goes in!!!
78’ | 1-0
GOAL FOR MOTHERWELL!!!
74’ | 0-0
Final Motherwell sub. Ryan Bowman on for Carl McHugh.
72’ | 0-0
Celtic sub. Scott Sinclair on to a chorus of boos, replacing Stuart Armstrong.
70’ | 0-0
Motherwell piling on the pressure! This time it’s Tanner with the shot from the left of the box, gathered by Gordon.
67’ | 0-0
Another huge chance for Motherwell. Tait’s cross is inch perfect and Tanner meets it with his head… but it drops wide of the post.
66’ | 0-0
Substitution for Motherwell. Craig Tanner coming on for Elliott Frear.
62’ | 0-0
Straight up the other end a chance for Celtic. McGregor finds space on the left but his shot flashes across the face of the goal.
Some tehincal issues, but we’re back online with live commentary now:
60’ | 0-0
And a huge chance for the ‘Well! Moult in space in the box controls Cadden’s cross on his chest, but his acrobatic effort from 12 yards is just over the bar.
59’ | 0-0
Penalty shout for Motherwell! Moult goes down in the box attacking Frear’s cross but nothing given.
50′ | 0-0
Campbell booked for a tug on Armstong.
There has been a half-time sub for Motherwell, Rose on for Petravicius
48′ | 0-0
Couple of decent chances there for Celtic but Hartley puts in a great block then thankfully Tierney fires wide of the post.
Celtic get the second 45 underway.
Right on the stroke of half time, Trevor Carson has produced an unbelievable save to deny Rogic from close range!
HT: Motherwell 0 – 0 Celtic
39′ | 0-0
A couple of half-chance there for ‘Well. Ball broke to Kipré on the edge of the box but his shot was blocked then Tait’s shot was well over the bar
38′ | 0-0
Trip by Brown on Moult who was breaking into the box. Frear’s free-kick is knocked out for a corner.
35′ | 0-0
Griffths curls in a free-kick to the backpost which is hooked wide of the target by Boyata
29′ | 0-0
Rogic has another chance but this time he fires over the bar from just outside the box.
23′ | 0-0
Armstrong hacks down Cadden as he broke away but no yellow card produced
20’ | 0-0
Decent chance there for Rogic as he forces a good stop from Carson then fires the rebound wide of the post
10′ | 0-0
Early change for Celtic, Roberts off for Rogic.
We are underway here at Fir Park. Having a few technical issues…
Motherwell get the game underway. COYW!