MOTHERWELL 0 CELTIC 2
YOU wait ages for one away victory and then two come along at once.
Following the win over Aberdeen at Pittodrie – Celtic’s first on their domestic travels since February 14 – sweet strikes from Filipe Jota and David Turnbull were enough to give Ange Postecoglou’s side three crucial points at Fir Park as they attempt to catch up after a dodgy period.
There was an extra cheer at the end when the 1-1 result at Ibrox was announced with Hearts claiming a late equaliser against Steven Gerrard’s side.
Didn’t they do Well? The Hoops players and fans had another away day to celebrate.
PORTUGUESE FLYER…Filipe Jota fires in the opening goal.
HAPPY DAZE…Filipe Jota races away after leaving Motherwell keeper Liam Kelly helpless.
WELL DONE, YOUNG MAN…Filipe Jota looks happy after his strike.
Inside three minutes, Joe Hart had to display some nifty footwork to clear up problem with Jordan Roberts hovering after a misdirected header from Callum McGregor set Well in motion.
Only moments later, the Hoops captain attempted to atone, but his left-foot drive swept over the crossbar with Liam Kelly watching on his line.
Former favourite Tony Watt beat Carl Starfelt far too easily on the right to send over an inviting cross, but Anthony Ralston was quick to snuff out the danger at the far post.
In the 17th minute, Jota claimed the opening goal with a lethal left-foot strike after a breathtaking move from the Hoops after Kyogo Furuhashi had won a challenge in his own half. He knocked a quick pass to McGregor who carried it a few paces before sliding the ball in front of Tom Rogic.
The Aussie playmaker sent an inch-perfect pass inside Stephen O’Donnell and the tricky Portuguese winger, who got the winner against Aberdeen two weeks ago, left the keeper helpless at his near post with a vicious and accurate drive.
Graham Alexander’s side, as anticipated, had started with a fair bit of vigour, but the opening goal knocked them out of their stride for a while as the visitors dominated possession as they went in pursuit of a second goal.
BY THE RIGHT…David Turnbull thumps in a right-foot shot.
CHEERS…David Turnbull is congratulated by Tom Rogic,Anthony Ralston and Callum McGregor after his wonder strike.
In the 28th minute, the game was halted when referee Willie Collum indicated he wouldn’t be able to continue. Players of both sides kept themselves tuned up by going through a few routines before substitute match official Chris Fordyce came on after a delay of six minutes.
The Hoops looked a little unsettled as the game restarted and in quick succession Ralston and Cameron Carter-Vickers sloppily conceded throw-ins deep in their own territory.
Kyogo, who started on the left, drifted into his more accustomed position through the middle as Postecoglou’s men attempted to get back into their stride.
Liel Abada, who had been drifting in and out of proceedings, sizzled in a low right-foot drive from 20 yards, but Kelly got down swiftly to hold on.
The encounter was getting a little towsy and there appeared to be a couple off-the-ball incidents with the match officials failing to take action.
FIST IN TIME…Joe Hart gets up to punch the ball clear.
Celtic came out in whirlwind fashion after the break and in the 47th minute Abada and Ralston combined before the right-back flashed a low ball into the box which Jota miscued over the bar from four yards.
Moments later, Ralston attempted a right-foot lob from 20 yards which Kelly held just under the crossbar.
In the 52nd minute, the goal eventually arrived and it was a sensational strike from David Turnbull against his former club.
The Hoops threaded the ball around with skill and speed. Kyogo, as ever, was involved with a flick out to Jota on the left. The on-loan Benfica raiser rolled the ball in front of the Scotland international midfielder.
ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL…Anthony Ralston leads the Celtic players’ celebrations after the 2-0 win at Fir Park.
Turnbull took a couple of touches, summed up the situation in an instant and curled an unstoppable right-foot drive from 25 yards high into Kelly’s top left-hand corner. The keeper could only stand in admiration as the effort hit the target.
In the 73rd minute, Postecoglou made a double change when they took off Rogic and Abada and threw on Nir Bitton and Giorgos Giakoumakis, the Greek making his second appearance for the Hoops.
Eight minutes from time, Mikey Johnston came on for all-action Kyogo.
The Hoops coasted to a well-merited win and now all eyes are on Parkhead on Tuesday afternoon when Ferencvaros provide the opposition in the Europa League Group G.
TEAM: Hart; Ralston, Carter-Vickers, Starfelt, Bolingoli; Turnbull, McGregor, Rogic (sub: Bitton 73); Abada (sub: Giakoumakis 73), Kyogo (sub: Johnston 82), Jota.