An improvement in performance and three points were the most important things for Celtic at Fir Park as The Sheep, once again, bottled it against the Lites in the Friday night match.
Well, at least we got the three points.
Maybe a tad unfair actually as Celtic lined up against Motherwell without GMS and Sviatchenko which meant two things: Kazim-Richards and Charlie Mulgrew.
The team started with a relatively high tempo – Patrick Roberts being the man rounding off most of our moves with some kind of attacking guile. And Brown appears to have done a reverse Samson upon reverting back to his skinhead. Look much better on and off the pitch.
The young Englishman was our brightest spark in a pretty benign attack force although he wasn’t necessarily creating much and this would serve as a detriment in the second-half where he was guilty of being too greedy on the ball too often. Johansen also must receive credit for his role in the initial forays, opening up Motherwell’s defence on a number of occasions with sharp passes.
Roberts was brought down in the box after some brilliant quick feet for a stone-waller and up stepped Griffiths to slot away his thirty-si… Oh no, wait…
In fact he scuffed it harmlessly wide to cap a miserable first half performance for him. But not before doing what Leigh Griffiths does best and scoring.
It was a brilliant move in the build-up, Johansen playing through Tierney to slide the ball across the box and there was the prolific Thumb to stick it away.
We were pleased to go in a goal up having, for the first time in a while, dominated the first half. Kazim-Richards might have had us a goal up sooner if he was one of those strikers that could shoot (Too easy to take pot-shots at him these days – another dreadful performance).
Second-half began and Motherwell started to come into the game. McDonald had a goal wrongly ruled out for offside which should have served as a warning.
Herein lies one of our biggest problems. In games like this, if you don’t take your chances you just encourage the opposition and give them more of an incentive. We become complacent at the back and ultimately concede. Celtic should have been about three goals up by the time McDonald made sure of his second effort but the fact that we weren’t is an indictment of our attack. How can we have so many strikers/forward players and yet Griffiths is the only one in double figures for goals?
Once again Griffiths bailed out the Hoops with a huge hand – or lack thereof – from Connor Ripley. Pea-roller which the outstanding Motherwell stopper should have held.
Easily one of Griffiths’ worst performances of the season and yet he left with two goals. It would have been a hat-trick but he was unable to outrun the lightning quick centre-back pairing of McManus and Kennedy upon pouncing on a mistake from the latter.
Overall an improvement but it was marginal. We’re limping over the line and Aberdeen are acting as a crutch. Not a display to leave the fans purring – not that it stopped us roaring at the end.
Player Ratings out of 10:
Gordon – 6
Very little to do. Blameless for the goal.
Lustig – 6
Quiet performance. Dangerous from set-pieces. Solid enough.
Boyata – 7
Outstanding in the back 4. Dealt with pressure brilliantly.
Mulgrew – 6
Adequate. Some slack passing at times.
Tierney – 7.5
Another to add to the collection. Two assists but half mark off for his part in the goal. Found Johnson tricky at times.
Bitton – 5.5
Lacklustre in midfield. Clogged a few times, which didn’t help.
Brown – 6
Significant improvement all round.
Johansen – 7.5
Caused Motherwell big problems with his passing and workrate in the first half. Efficient in the second.
Roberts – 7.5
Too hot for the Motherwell defence to handle. Eventually neutralised in the second half when he began to tire.
Kazim-Richards – 4
Fluffed his lines when he could have scored. Continues to disappoint.
Griffiths – 7
Only he could get a 7 after a performance like that. Reflects his value to the team. Had he not been on the pitch we would probably have dropped points today.
None of the subs did anything of note to warrant a rating.