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  • Dominant Celts put Steelmen to the sword

    Dominant Celts put Steelmen to the sword

    By: Mark Henderson on 15 Oct, 2016 16:54

  • Scottish Premiership
    Celtic Park, Glasgow
    Saturday, October 15, 2016

    (Sinclair 18, Dembele 87pen.)


    GOALS in either half from Scott Sinclair and Moussa Dembele saw a dominant Celtic put Motherwell to the sword to maintain their four-point advantage at the top of the table.

    Sinclair bagged his eighth goal of the season to fire the Hoops ahead following good work from James Forrest on the right. Only the heroics of goalkeeper Craig Samson kept the visitors in the game, before Dembele finally sealed the spoils in the final minutes from the penalty spot after Samson had fouled him in the box.

    Liam Henderson made his first start of the season as Brendan Rodgers make three changes to the team that defeated Dundee before the latest international break. The 20-year-old, who has featured twice this season from the bench, replaced Nir Bitton in central midfield. Cristian Gamboa came in at right-back in place of Mikael Lustig, while Stuart Armstrong started in the No.10 role at the expense of Tom Rogic.

    It didn’t take long for Henderson to get involved as Celtic made a bright start. Robbing Keith Lasley just outside the box inside the opening two minutes, he burst into the box and flashed a shot into the side-netting.

    As the Hoops continued to zip the ball around with purpose, Armstrong came close when his effort was deflected inches wide of the far post.

    Motherwell replied with a Louis Moult shot that was blocked by Henderson at the expense of a corner - but normal service soon resumed, with Tierney seeing a shot charged down by Lasley at the far post.

    In-form striker Dembele got his first sight of goal in the 17th minute when he was fed by Tierney on the edge of the box, opened up his body and sent a curling shot towards the top corner which Craig Samson did well to push wide. From Henderson’s resultant corner, the goalkeeper was called into action to stop Erik Sviatchenko's powerful header.  

    The pressure was building and the Lanarkshire side’s resistance was broken 60 seconds later. Forrest, a constant menace with his speed and direct play, left one defender for dead as drove down the right before delivering an inviting low cross into the box. Although Dembele failed to make clean contact, Sinclair was following up and he swept a first-time shot beyond Samson.      

    Gamboa was off target from distance and Sviatchenko fired narrowly over following Sinclair’s corner as the Bhoys went in pursuit of a quick-fire second.

    Through some delightful swift exchanges of passing around the box against the tightly-packed Motherwell backline, the Hoops continued to threaten, but their next clear chance emanated on the counter-attack.

    Brown thrust forward and found Dembele in the inside left channel. The hit-man calmly cut inside the backtracking Ben Heneghan and pulled the trigger but his curling shot cannoned off the post.

    On the stroke of half-time, Tierney was agonisingly close to a goal of the season contender. Muscling Scott McDonald off the ball on the left touchline, he darted inside towards the box where a mix of determination and nimble footwork saw him beat Richard Tait twice.  

    He then danced away from Lasley before unleashing a ferocious shot that crashed off the top of the bar. It deserved more. A standing ovation from the home support underlined their appreciation for the talented teenager’s efforts.

    The breadth of the woodwork had spared the Steelmen further punishment on that occasion and then Samson came to his side’s rescue early in the second-half with a brilliant double save. First he reacted swiftly to get a hand to Brown’s deflected drive and then he managed to block Dembele on the rebound.

    The Motherwell shot-stopped was rooted to his spot when Sinclair tried his luck with a swerving shot in the 56th minute, but he breathed a sigh of relief as the ball whizzed wide.

    In search of a second goal, Brendan Rodgers added further firepower from the bench just beyond the hour mark, sending on Leigh Griffiths and Patrick Roberts for Gamboa and Armstrong.

    The ever-dangerous Forrest tested Samson after another skilful run, and former Celt Stephen McManus made a last-ditch block to deny Sinclair as the Hoops continued to dominate.  

    Samson was having an inspired game between the sticks for the away side and he made another superb save to thwart Sinclair after he had been teed-up by Dembele in the box.

    With three minutes on the clock, Samson was finally beaten for a second time. Chasing a Motherwell back-pass, Dembele got the ball moments before Samson, who sent the Frenchman tumbling to the ground.

    Referee John Beaton immediately pointed to the spot and Dembele picked himself up and confidently found the corner, sending Samson the wrong way in the process.

    It was the 13th time the young striker has found the net during the campaign and saw the Hoops confirm another well-deserved three points, maintaining confidence ahead of Wednesday's UEFA Champions League clash against Borussia Monchengladbach.

    CELTIC  (4-2-3-1) Gordon; Gamboa (Griffiths 61), Simunovic, Sviatchenko, Tierney; Brown, Henderson; Forrest (Toure 84), Armstrong, (Roberts 61) Sinclair; Dembele.
    Not Used: De Vries, Izaguirre, Christie, McGregor

    MOTHERWELL (4-4-2) Samson; Tait, Heneghan,McManus, McMillan (Ferguson 58); Cadden, Lasley, Clay, McLean (Hastie 79); McDonald (Bowman 46), Moult.
    Not Used: Brill, Ainsworth, Kennedy, Campbell

    Website Man of the Match: Kieran Tierney


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