Celtic 1, Motherwell 1

Match Date: Sunday, March 14 2004
Competition: Scottish Premier League
Attendance: 47,563
Motherwell Team (4-4-2):

Marshall, Quinn, Corrigan, Craigan, Hammell, Adams, Lasley, Burns, Fagan (Dair 89), Scott McDonald, Clarkson (Wright 70).
Subs not used: Corr, Kinniburgh, Fitzpatrick

Motherwell scorer: Adams (26).

Booked: Fagan.


Celtic  1     Motherwell  1

A SUPERB, BATTLING DISPLAY From Motherwell saw them become the first team to leave Parkhead with anything. It could have been all three points as the Fir Parkers had the better of the first half, though a point-a-piece could have few complaining.

Both teams had to make changes, with the Fir Parkers hit hard by injuries as well as their opponents. Celtic were first to show, though good work from Hammell and Corrigan stopped Sylla's progress towards Marshall. Petrov then made a dramatic fall to win a free kick some 15 yards from the by line as Hammell challenged. Lasley cleared only as far as Petrov but Quinn hooked away. Sylla then controlled the ball with his hand and was allowed to progress before shooting over. However, a couple of minutes later Motherwell should have taken the lead. Superb work from Scott McDonald saw him burst into the box and sending in a low ball which Burns met. Unfortunately Marshall in goals was equal to the shot, turning it round the post. The home side broke quickly from the poorly taken corner but Lasley, back-tracking to effect, blocked the move. Wallace then pounced on a slack defensive pass to cross in for former Fir Parker Pearson who was unable to keep his header down. Another slip at the back then presented Sylla with a chance but Gordon Marshall was on hand to make a comfortable save. The Fir Parkers then went close again when a cross from Lasley was headed narrowly behind his own goal by Balde. Again, Motherwell were guilty of a poorly taken corner allowing the home side to break. Pearson headed upfield and found Balde but allowing the ball to run wide his attempted chip went over the bar with Marshall covering. It certainly was end-to-end stuff with Motherwell again coming very close. Burns found Clarkson whose turn and shot on the edge of the box grazed the crossbar on it's way just over. 

The home side responded with a Beattie header going wide from Wallace's cross. Varga then had Adams writhing in agony after a late challenge though there was only a free kick. Pearson and Kennedy then had to look sharp to deny Burns who was snapping away on the edge of the box following a McDonald pass. Celtic won a corner when Craigan knocked behind a Sylla cross. As it came in Sylla himself rose to meet it though his header was at best wide. Marshall cleared long to Lasley and he intelligently found Burns. Turning, the shot was well held by the home keeper. A minute later Burns found Clarkson who turned Balde but played a weak pass to McDonald which was cleared. A fantastic save from Gordon Marshall then kept the scoreline blank. Beattie met the cross from Wallace but couldn't beat the acrobatic Marshall who parried the ball round the post. Hammell completed the clearance as the corner was swung in. Shortly afterwards Smith had an opportunity but blazed over on the angle. The Fir Park response was a rasping shot from McDonald which went past the far post. Shortly after that, though, Motherwell made the most of their next effort on goals. Keith Lasley did superbly well to make the by-line and his cut-back was sweetly met by Derek Adams, on the edge of the box, and he drilled a vicious shot high beyond Marshall for the lead. Hassling from McDonald then won a corner for Motherwell as Kennedy failed to clear. Burns smacked the ball off the post but Referee Brown had spotted an infringement no one else seemed to notice. The Parkhead side attacked with Sylla winning a corner, though Hammell was on hand to smack the ball to safety. A perfectly timed tackle from Martyn Corrigan then appeared to win possession from Sylla though Referee Brown thought otherwise. Quinn and the Hammell cleared the ball. David Clarkson was a constant menace and his turn and shot was well held by Marshall. Fagan then found Clarkson but he found Varga stopping his progress. Varga then moved upfield to take his place at a corner but was over-eager and fouled Adams as the ball came in. A cross from Wallace soon after was met by Sylla though again Marshall was on hand to hold. Two minutes from the break Petrov became the first booking of the match when he showed blatant dissent towards the Referee. Indeed, a stricter Referee perhaps would have been tempted to issue a double yellow given Petrov's petulant behaviour in refusing to approach the man-in-the-middle. 

Half time     Celtic  0     Motherwell  1

It was almost an immediate impact the home side made as they came close at the start of the second half. Wallace crossed low and as Lambert met the ball his shot struck the outside of the post before Craigan conceded a corner, which the Northern Ireland International made the clearance. Hammell then looked to have won possession from Sylla but unsurprisingly a dramatic dive persuaded Referee Brown otherwise. Wallace swung the ball in but Marshall gathered with ease. Smith then tried his luck after cutting inside Hammell but was unable to beat either Marshall or the post. A Balde foul on Clarkson gave Motherwell a free kick some 20 yards out though Hammell saw his cross cleared by Wallace. The busy McDonald then won possession before passing to Clarkson but he was robbed by Lambert. What looked like a quite blatant dive by Sylla went unpunished by Referee Brown who looked somewhat disinterested in the theatrics of the Celtic player. Alex Burns then almost found himself clear on Marshall and was only denied by a well-timed recovery from Varga. The home side made a change when Larsson came on to replace Beattie up front. A dangerous cross from Wallace then looked to cause problems until brave goalkeeping from Marshall denied Larsson. Motherwell passed up a great chance to double their lead when a poor Marshall clearance fell to the feet of Burns. Instead of taking a touch he first-timed the ball straight back to the home keeper. Seconds later, however, Motherwell should have had the perfect opportunity to score again. Adams made a great run into the box and, just about to pull the trigger, he was chopped down by Lambert. Somehow Referee Brown chose to wave play on and then book Fagan who took Petrov out of the play. Celtic attacked with Wallace making the by line though his deep cross was headed deeper behind by Varga. Another piece of poor officiating saw Sylla go unpunished for taking out Hammell as the pair ran through the midfield. 

Motherwell regained possession with Hammell going forward. He found Clarkson whose quick turn and chip saw the ball clear the cross bar with Marshall struggling. At the other end Larsson got on the end of a Varga flick but found Marshall waiting to gather. The home side went closer a minute later. Larsson found Sylla and his shot was brilliantly turned round by Marshall. As the corner came in Varga took the ball out at the far side but was awarded a corner. This time Marshall was on hand to punch clear. The pressure continued and this time Marshall did well to turn a Pearson shot round the post. However, as the ball came in Marshall was unable to gather and Larsson headed in at the near post to level the game. Motherwell made an immediate change, Clarkson replaced by Kenny Wright. The Fir Parkers refused to buckle and attacked. Sean Fagan found Wright inside the box but his shot was blocked away by Balde. A body-check on Lasley by Varga then gave Motherwell a free kick in a great position to the right of the box but Hammell's free kick failed to beat the first defender. Good work from Wright then forced a corner in Motherwell's favour. Balde cleared to Sylla whose theatrical fall as Quinn challenged saw Referee Brown still ignore and wave play on. A flick by Larsson saw Marshall alert to gather a minute later with the ball then gathered by Adams who was fouled wide right Sylla, who committed the foul, then had one in his favour as Burns challenged. Marshall was strong, however, and punched the ball away. Alex Burns never tired, and his running took play upfield. A pas to Lasley had Lambert stretching and only just able to clear. The home fans were then screaming for a penalty as Adams and Sylla clashed inside the box though given Sylla's previous "falls" it was perhaps no surprise play continued. After a foul by Craigan on Larsson the later shot over form the edge of the box. Pearson then almost came back to haunt his old team when he sent in a shot from the edge of the box which hit the top of the bar and went over. Motherwell responded, Fagan found Hammell and via McDonald was only inches away from setting up Wright. A home change had Wallace replaced by Agathe, whilst Motherwell sent on Jason Dair for Sean Fagan. As the board went up to indicate 3 extra minutes Larsson turned inside the box but fired wide of the far post. An accidental handball by Dair was punished with a home free kick though Burns, back defending, hooked the ball clear. With seconds left Agathe showed dissent by slamming the ball into the ground though Referee Brown decided a warning was enough. Shortly afterwards the whistle went and Motherwell left with a well-earned point. With seconds left Agathe showed dissent by slamming the ball into the ground though Referee Brown decided a warning was enough. Shortly afterwards the whistle went and Motherwell left with a well-earned point. 

Full time     Celtic  1     Motherwell  1

Match Report by Ricky Mullen