This morning we have the luxury of being concerned at the volume of chances Motherwell passed by before briefly pegging Celtic back in yesterday’s encounter at Fir Park. Before kick-off, all that mattered were the three points that necessary to keep our title challenge on track. We got what we wanted.
Virtuoso performances by Mohamed Elyounoussi and, to a lesser extent, Tom Rogic, meant the win was eventually secured in some style. Motherwell threatened repeatedly from halftime until they eventually scored on 72 minutes, better teams would have done more with the chances, but stout defending, by Diego Laxalt in particular, kept them at bay.
Elyounoussi’s potent ability to time his arrival into the danger perfectly brought his first hat-trick as a Celtic player. He described the first, a rebound from Albian Ajeti shot off the post, as lucky, but he was the fastest ‘lucky’ player to make the follow-in run. His second, from Rogic’s cutback, made the most of tight space inside the Motherwell area. The salmon leap-like header for the third goal was a delight. On this form, Mohamed will have a big influence on the season.
Shane Duffy and Odsonne Edouard were rested, with the returning Kristoffer Ajer and Ajeti preferred. Both did well. Ajer’s early retirement through a recurrence of his groin injury is a concern, I don’t think we will see the best from Celtic until he and Christopher Jullien are paired together at the back.