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OH WILL THEY SAY WE’VE FAILED?

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FORMER Celtic striker Chris Sutton was taking some stick from Zombies on social media at half time in today’s thrilling match in Motherwell.
Apparently they thought we’d fail….


MOTHERWELL 3 CELTIC 4

BREATHTAKING! That’s the only word to describe Celtic’s remarkable comeback to overwhelm Motherwell at Fir Park in a firecracker of an occasion this afternoon.

It was the performance of champions after going in two goals adift at the interval and then slipping behind again 62 seconds after levelling it at 2-2.

Brendan Rodgers’ team simply refused to be denied and they got their reward in the 90th minute through Tom Rogic, who had probed menacingly throughout an exhilarating encounter.

The Aussie was magnificent and so, too, was his midfield sidekick Stuart Armstrong who put in a selfless shift as he pounded around the pitch all day in an effort to turn things around.

No-one could deny the Hoops the three points after the bulk of the possession although, to be fair, Mark McGhee’s side did strike three times to play their part in a massively entertaining confrontation.

It was worrying for boss Rodgers at half-time, though, as his team came in two goals down and, amazingly, without a solitary effort on target during that period.

Craig Gordon, who hadn’t conceded a goal in domestic competition since Steven MacLean netted for St Johnstone in Perth in August 20, was left stranded when ‘Well got the opener in only three minutes.

Stephen McManus, the former Bhoys skipper, shelled a left-footed ball down the park and into the Celtic half where Louis Moult, played onside by Emilio Izaguirre, was lurking.

Kolo Toure, playing his first game in almost six weeks as a stand-in for the ill Erik Sviatchenko, lost the flight of the ball in the air.

It fell perfectly for Moult to delicately lob an exquisite effort over the head of the isolated Gordon and into the net.

Moussa Dembele, who was well off the pace in this confrontation, teed up an opportunity for James Forrest in the 22nd minute, but Sunday’s Hampden hero in the Betfred League Cup Final win over Aberdeen dragged the ball past the upright.

Slack play from Izaguirre allowed Phil Cadden the chance to race down the right before pitching over a low cross that Moult directed just off target.

Two minutes later, the Honduran was hauled off with Callum McGregor taking his place as Rodgers changed to a back three.

Armstrong flashed a right-foot short from 25 yards past the post in the 35th minute and only moments later Well doubled their advantage.

Referee Kevin Clancy waved play on when it looked as though Ross MacLean had fouled Mikael Lustig to win the ball on Celtic’s right.

MacLean didn’t hesitate as he stormed forward before lofting a cross into the box that was missed by Toure and Moult arrived at the back post to first-time the ball past Gordon who made a heroic effort to keep it out.

The half finished with Dembele twisting and turning before wastefully blasting the ball about 10 yards off target. 

However, it was a different Celtic who kicked off the second period and in the 48th minute they were back in the game when McGregor scored a superb goal.

The substitute worked a sweet one-two with Armstrong, took a touch, dummied a defender and then slotted the ball low past Craig Samson at his left-hand side.

Only five minutes later, Rogic showed some dainty footwork to open up the opposition, but Samson managed to push the ball to safety.

In the 55th minute, Patrick Roberts was so wild with an angled drive the ball went for a shy on the other side of the field!

Scott Brown was harshly booked shortly afterwards and the skipper, after picking up his sixth yellow card of the season, will miss the game against Dundee.

MacLean and Moult had already been cautioned by Clancy by the time McManus went into the book for a clumsy challenge on Brown at a corner-kick.

Celtic powered forward with Jozo Simunovic practically playing in midfield and Samson denied Rogic the equaliser with a flying save to his right to punch away his curling effort from outside the box.

However, the champions levelled in the 70th minute and it was wonderfully set up by the hard-working Armstrong as he sped down the left and picked out Roberts at the far post with a perfect cross.

The on-loan Manchester City winger was unmarked as he rose to deliver the knock-out blow with an unstoppable header past the scrambling Samson.

Remarkably, Well regained the lead 62 seconds later! Steven Hammell delivered a cross from the left and substitute Lionel Ainsworth had far too much time and space as he beat Gordon with an angled effort.

The Hoops’ reply was instantaneous. Roberts slipped a neat pass into the tracks of Armstrong and he swivelled to plant a low shot beyond the grasp of Samson.

Three goals in three minutes and 20 seconds had the fans blinking in astonishment.

Celtic pushed for the winner and it duly arrived in the 90th minute from Wizard of Oz Rogic. He drifted in from the left with the Well defence trying to push him on his left foot.

However, he bamboozled them by striking a right-foot drive at goal and Samson had no chance as the ball zipped in low at his left-hand post.

It was a marvellous comeback by Rodgers’ men, but the defence can expect some overtime at Lennoxtown next week.

Losing three goals was never in the script.

The best reply, of course, was to score at least four and the players rose to the challenge.

TEAM: Gordon; Lustig, Simunovic, Toure, Izaguirre (sub: McGregor 29); Brown, Armstrong; Roberts (sub: Bitton 92), Rogic, Forrest (sub: Gamboa 94); Dembele. 

 
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