It was the morning after the night before, at Celtic Park, but the home team still collected three points against Motherwell. The champions did not get out of second gear, and surrendered possession for long period in the second half, but they got the job done without conceding a chance worthy of the name. You get the feeling this squad is pacing itself. You can only climb the mountain so many times.
Jonny Hayes won Man of the Match, largely for his balls into the box. The second goal came from a dangerous Hayes cross between defence and goalkeeper which that Motherwell defender, Richard Tait, felt obliged to intercept, turning the ball into his own net. Jonny sent in an equally good cross a few minutes later, but there were no takers on that occasion.
He was a few weeks shy of his 30th birthday when Brendan Rodgers singed him from Aberdeen: the exact opposite of a ‘Project’, but he is a solid player who did not look out of place in Rome on Thursday night. Cameos at Ibrox and in Rennes earlier this season further demonstrate the £1m spent taking him to Celtic was money well spent.
While Celtic have improved significantly since the early-season 2-5 win at Fir Park, so have Motherwell. I liked the way they knocked the ball around and it was noted to me that the thuggish element, which characterised much of their play in past seasons, was gone. I hope Steve Robinson is does not end up wasting his talent at Tynecastle.