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  • Edouard hits a hat-trick as super Celts make it 67 games unbeaten

    Edouard hits a hat-trick as super Celts make it 67 games unbeaten

    By: Mark Henderson on 02 Dec, 2017 17:04

  • Scottish Premiership
    Celtic Park, Glasgow
    Saturday, December 2, 2017

    CELTIC...5
    (Edouard 16, 33, 84, Forrest 76, 88)

    MOTHERWELL...1
    (Frear 65)

    ODSONNE Edouard bagged his first senior hat-trick as Celtic swept aside Motherwell 5-1 to stretch their domestic unbeaten run to a magnificent 67 matches.

    The Steelmen had held the Hoops to a draw on Wednesday night but there never looked like being a repeat of that as the Hoops dominated from start to finish in the third meeting of the side in seven days.

    Edouard and Jonny Hayes came in to make their starts in over a month as Brendan Rodgers made six changes to the team that drew with the Fir Park side on Wednesday night. Along with Edouard and Hayes, Kristofer Ajer, Olivier Ntcham, Tom Rogic and Scott Sinclair, who scored the late leveller from the penalty spot in Lanarkshire, also came into the team.

    Despite the changes in personnel, Celtic were straight into their stride, moving the ball around with pace and purpose and launching several early promising attacks, with Edouard unfortunate not to fasten on to Sinclair’s through ball, before Kieran Tierney was taken out by goalkeeper Scott Carson as he attempted to connect with a loose ball in the box, the referee, Kevin Clancy, adjusting that no infringement had been committed. 

    Hayes had been lively in the early stages, having a shot blocked and causing opposite number, Charles Dunne, problems with his direct running, and it was from his inviting cross to the back post that Richard Tait almost headed into his own net. From the resultant corner, Ntcham’s rasping drive was charged down.

    Motherwell managed to break the siege in the 12th minute to muster their first attempt on goal when Chris Cadden shot narrowly over from distance but the Hoops broke through in their next attack.   

    Ntcham’s precise pass picked out Sinclair’s run into the box and the winger’s cutback was met by Edouard, who applied the finish to a wonderfully-worked goal. Celtic’s dominance continued unabated, and Hayes wasn’t far away with a curling effort after cutting in from the right.

    And the visitors’ task could have become even more difficult had the referee had deemed Louis Moult’s elbow to the face of Scott Brown a deliberate act, which would have resulted in a red card. Instead, he decided it was an accidental collision, much to the frustration of the Celtic captain, who required treatment on the touchline. 

    There was no stopping Brendan Rodgers’ side, however, as they deservedly doubled their advantage just after the half-hour mark. Rogic was the architect, supplying Edouard with a clever pass, and the young Frenchman did the rest, finding the far corner from 18 yards with an accurate finish.

    It looked as though the Hoops would go with a three-goal lead at the interval when Rogic capped off another flowing move, sweeping beyond Carson from Ntcham’s pass. But after a long delay, and with the hosts heading back to the halfway line for the restart, referee Clancy consulted with his linesman, who hadn’t raised his flag, and ruled out the goal.

    Stephen Robinson’s side made two changes at the break to try and stem the tide but it had no effect as Celtic remained in complete control, with Edouard coming close to claiming his treble early in the second half, heading inches wide from Sinclair’s cross.

    The one-way traffic continued as Lustig forced Carson into action with a stinging volley and Tierney blasted wide after Ntcham’s free-kick had been shovelled away by Carson.

    It seemed a matter of how many the Hoops would score but in their first meaningful attack of the match, Motherwell reduced arrears as substitute Elliot Frear slid in to convert Tait’s cross.

    James Forrest and Callum McGregor were introduced midway through the half, and Forrest was quickly to the fore, teeing up Rogic with a great chance to restore the two-goal advantage, but the Australian internationalist lashed over from the edge of the box.

    The next time Forrest collected the ball on the right, he took matters into his own hands and sealed the victory. After controlling Tierney’s raking cross-field pass, he cut inside onto his left foot and his measured finish beat Carson.

    Forrest could have had a quick-fire double after Gordon instigated another lightening counter-attack, but Carson made a superb save to deny the winger. The keeper would still have to pick the ball out of his net twice more before the final whistle, however, as the Hoops finished with a flourish.

    First, Edouard got his treble after capitalising on Tait’s weak header back to Carson, and then, Forrest underlined his confidence with another accurate strike into the far corner – his 10th goal of the season.

    CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Gordon; Lustig, Ajer, Boyata, Tierney; Ntcham (McGregor 68), Brown; Hayes (Forrest 68), Rogic, Sinclair (Armstrong 77); Edouard
    Not Used: De Vries, Simunovic, Griffiths, Kouassi

    MOTHERWELL (4-1-2-1-2) Carson; Tait, Cipre, Hartley, Dunne; Campbell; Cadden (Frear 46), Rose; Tanner (McHugh 46); Moult (Petravicius 58), Bowman
    Not Used: Griffiths, Grimshaw, Brigirimana, Plummer

    Website Man of the Match: Odsonne Edouard

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