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  • Disappointing draw for Celts

    Disappointing draw for Celts

    By: Mark Henderson on 21 Sep, 2014 17:05

  • Scottish Premiership
    Celtic Park, Glasgow
    Sunday, September 21, 2014

    (Commons 68)

    (Sutton 19)

    KRIS Commons’ second-half penalty salvaged a share of the spoils for Celtic against Motherwell on a frustrating day in Paradise for the Scottish champions.

    The 31-year-old cancelled out John Sutton’s opener for the visitors from the spot after Scott Brown had been felled in the box by Josh Law.

    Commons and Brown had been introduced at half-time after a lacklustre showing in the opening 45 minutes from the Hoops.

    And the pair did inspire an improvement in performance but they couldn’t provide a winning goal for Ronny Deila to celebrate on his 39th birthday.   

    John Guidetti made his first Celtic start as the manager made six changes to the team which drew with FC Salzburg on Thursday night.

    The Swedish striker replaced Stefan Scepovic, with the Serbian internationalist named among the substitutes. Lukasz Zaluska came in for Craig Gordon between the sticks, while Beram Kayal, Nir Bitton, Anthony Stokes and Aleksandar Tonev were also recalled to the side.

    Driven on by the lively Kayal in the opening stages, the hosts quickly pressed the Steelmen back, forcing a succession of corners and fashioning a number of promising positions.

    However, excluding several searching through balls and crosses, they failed to work Motherwell goalkeeper Dan Twardzik and it was the visitors who opened the scoring in the 19th minute.

    Stokes was dispossessed on the halfway line and Law was able to burst down the right. He looked up and picked out the run of Sutton at the near post, and the Englishman gave Zaluska no chance with a well-executed volley.

    Jason Denayer brought out a save from Twardzik with a thumping drive from distance as Celtic sought a swift response but it was Stuart McCall’s men who were carrying the most menace.

    Indeed, even before they had made the breakthrough, Iain Vigurs had sent a half-volley wide from 18 yards, and they came close to doubling their advantage when Keith Lasley’s driven cross was stabbed towards the target by Sutton but Zaluska was equal to the task.

    As half-time approached, Celtic did begin to show greater urgency. After collecting a powerful pass from Callum McGgreor on the edge of the area, Kayal manufactured a yard of space and drilled a shot wide.

    Bitton tried his luck with two efforts from distance and Tonev blasted wide from a similar range, before Twardzik was finally called into serious action by captain of the day, Virgil van Dijk.

     From a short corner, Stokes lofted a deep delivery into the box and the Dutchman’s header drew a smart save from the Czech keeper at his near post.

    That was the best the Bhoys managed to muster in the opening 45 minutes and it was no surprise to see the manager make a double switch at the interval as Brown and Commons replaced Kayal and Tonev.

    Commons was soon to the fore, collecting the clearance from his own corner on the angle of the box and sending a rasping volley down the throat of Twardzik, who did well to smother the ball.

    McGregor found the side-netting from an acute angle and then brought out a diving save from the Motherwell No.1 after cutting in from the right.

    The pressure from the Scottish champions was growing. Quick interplay between Bitton and Commons on the edge of the box presented Guidetti with a sight of goal and he curled narrowly over.

    While Commons’ craft had added inventiveness, Brown’s industry, desire and purpose had provided fresh impetus.

    And it was another of his driving runs forward that brought the Bhoys level. Thrusting into the box from the left, he was sent tumbling by Josh Law and referee Brian Colvin pointed to the spot. Commons stepped up and confidently converted down the middle.

    Lifted by the leveller, Celtic went in search of a winner in the final 20 minutes. McGgregor and Izaguirre had attempts on goal, before Twardzik reacted brilliantly to get a hand to McGregor’s deflected shot.   

    There was a desperate late surge forward in the closing stages, but the nearest the home side came to a winning goal was a header from Scepovic which Twardzik saved as the game ended in a disappointing draw.  

    CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Zaluska; Ambrose, Denayer, van Dijk, Izguirre; Kayal (Brown 46) Bitton; McGregor, Stokes, Tonev (Commons 46); Guidetti (Scepovic 76)
    Not Used: Gordon, Berget, O’Connell, Henderson

    MOTHERWELL (4-5-1) Twardzik; Kerr, O’Brien, McManus, Ramsden; Law, Reid, Lasley, Vigurs (Carswell 76), Francis-Angol; Sutton (Erwin76)
    Not Used: Neilsen, Ainsworth, Lawson, Leitch, Ojamaa

    Website Man of the Match: Scott Brown

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