Celtic 3, Motherwell 0

Match Date: Saturday, September 20 2003
Competition: Scottish Premier League
Attendance: 58,013.
Motherwell Team (4-4-2):

Marshall, Corrigan, Craigan, Partridge, Hammell, Lasley, Adams, Leitch (Wright 74), Pearson, Clarkson, Craig. Subs not used: Corr, Quinn, McDonald, Mathie

Yellow Cards: Hammell, Corrigan.


Celtic  3     Motherwell  0 

AFTER LAST WEEK'S IMPRESSIVE WIN Motherwell failed to take any points in this encounter but can be pleased with their overall performance. Referee Ian Brines produced a bizarre show and not for the first time. 

The home side began on the attack and Hartson thought he had sent Larsson through but play was halted for a tug on Hammel. Larsson himself then found Sutton who looked well offside but play was waved on. Sutton then supplied Hartson but the easy save was well held by Marshall. Celtic were then given a rather dubious corner when Sylla looked to have taken the ball out himself though Marshall punched well clear. Motherwell then put together their first attack and troubled the home defence no-end. Lasley played Craig wide and his pass had Balde struggling to knock the ball behind. Balde cleared as far as Adams and his cross back in drifted wide. Keith Lasley thought he then had gained possession and set Craig up but play was stopped for an apparent foul on Petrov. An error from Stevie Hammel then gave Petrov possession and although the defender looked to have regained possession Petrov's dramatic fall won the free kick. Larsson and Leitch were clashing in the box and although the Swede was guilty of constant pushing both players were warned. When the free kick came in the wall did its job. A handball by Petrov was then ignored allowing Thompson to find Larsson whose header went over. Referee Brines then incredibly awarded a bounce ball after Sutton, who had led with an elbow and caught Lasley, was deemed not to have fouled the Motherwell man. Hartson, however, played the ball back to Marshall. The Fir Parkers were not out of things at all and Pearson combined with Lasley only for the pass to be just beyond Craig with the home defence struggling. And shortly afterwards Corrigan and Lasley exchanged passes before Pearson saw his cross blocked. Motherwell forced another two quick corners but despite the pressure the attack ended with Hammel firing a 25-yard shot inches past. It was Motherwell again with Craig sending a Pearson cross past the post. The home response was a header from Sutton, which drifted well past. They did come closer a minute later when Marshall was forced into a great save from Larsson after Sutton had missed his kick virtually in front of goal. A body check by Varga on Craig brought Motherwell a free kick but they failed to take advantage. Celtic were then awarded a free kick when, despite a tug on Partridge by Hartson, the home side got the verdict. Motherwell broke upfield but Lasley was flattened by McNamara 30 yards out. Leitch played into Clarkson but the ball ran out. The Fir Parkers were still performing well and Corrigan's long cross almost caught Hedman out with Clarkson just unable to gather. Craig was then in good position out wide but a push by Varga ignored by the Referee. The game's most contentious moment came when the home side were convinced they should have had a penalty. Larsson dispossessed Corrigan and rounded Marshall. However, the Swede then dramatically collapsed to the ground.  Referee Brines raced to the scene and amazed the home support by booking the Celtic man for a dive. Trying to even things up Brines then booked Hammel when he and Sylla tussled for the ball. Larsson had a free header but sent it over.  Petrov then weaved into the box but Corrigan did well to deny him. Varga somehow escaped a card when he took Clarkson out of the game as Motherwell attacked. Celtic then forced a corner which Balde headed wide of the target.  Martyn Corrigan then became the next questionable booking for Motherwell when he and Larsson clashed. Larsson appeared to deny Corrigan as the Motherwell man tried to chase after Sylla and when play stopped after Petrov fell to the ground under a soft Hammel challenge he was booked.  

Half Time     Celtic  0     Motherwell  0 

Motherwell had done superbly in the first half but didn't come out at the start of the second and it showed. Within a minute or so of the resumption the home side had went ahead. Larsson went down easily under Craig's challenge and from the free kick Thompson found Larsson who scored. The home side screamed another penalty when this time Sutton dived inside the box but although there was no penalty Referee Brines decided there was no booking either. Motherwell tried to hit back and although Clarkson made a great run to the edge of the box he was crowded out. Sylla made ground on the right for the home side and his low cross somehow evaded any touch before going out of play. The brave Steven Craig almost drew Motherwell level when he got down to a Pearson cross but under heavy Balde pressure could only head wide. From the goal kick Larsson found Thompson but his drive was cleared by Craigan. Pearson then went on a run to the home area but he was bundled over by McNamara though there was somehow no foul.  Motherwell were passing the ball about well and created an opening soon after though Hammel fired over when he had Pearson through the middle shouting for the ball. It should have been level though when Motherwell passed up a great chance. Following a terrific move Craig found Pearson who was clear on Hedman but the weak shot was palmed away. Gordon Marshall did very well moments later when he held a flick from Sutton after Larsson's pass. The home side made a change on the hour taking off Hartson in place of Maloney. Motherwell then put the home defence under pressure. Adams and Pearson combined to force a corner which Hedman flapped at to concede a second which fell to Craigan but he had no time to react immediately though did force another corner. However, it came to nothing and the home side doubled their advantage. Martyn Corrigan slipped allowing Larsson to make it to the box and he passed inside for Sutton who put the ball beyond Marshall. It was harsh on Motherwell who had battled back so well after going behind. They did attempt to strike back with Leitch seeing his shot deflected to Craig but the striker unable to turn the ball towards goal.  And again the Fir Parkers were punished. It was a very questionable free kick which was awarded when Maloney went down under very slight contact by Adams.  Maloney made a dramatic recovery and curled the free kick inside the top corner with Marshall unable to get across in time. The Parkhead side made a double change with Gray replacing Petrov and Lennon making way for Miller. Motherwell then took off Leitch and replaced him with Kenny Wright. It took some time to make the change as the Referee remained unconvinced Leitch had actually left the field for some reason. And Referee Brines further enraged the Motherwell fans and players alike when he failed to issue a second yellow to Larsson. His challenge on Craig was clearly bookable but he decided to only award a free kick. McNamara, on the other hand, completely escaped yellow all game and he kept this up when being late on Clarkson. Next to keep a clean book was Thompson who, right in front of the Referee, showed clear dissent upon not gaining advantage, slamming the ball down in anger. With some 15 minutes to go the home fans, consistently claiming to be loyal right to the end, began to stream from the stadium. Gordon Marshall was then called upon to save an angled drive from Sylla. Motherwell weren't for giving up and Craig was only denied by a crucial Varga challenge. Minutes later Sylla saw his shot deflected by Adams onto the post with Marshall tipping a follow up over. Kenny Wright then forced a corner for Motherwell though Pearson saw his header cleared. Right on the final whistle Marshall held a Sutton shot. 

Full time     Celtic  3     Motherwell  0

Match Report by Ricky Mullen