Celtic 2, Motherwell 0

Match Date: Sunday, August 8 2004
Competition: Scottish Premier League
Attendance: 57,245
Motherwell Team (4-4-2):

Marshall, Corrigan, Craigan, Kinniburgh, Hammell, Fagan (Fitzpatrick 71), O'Donnell, Leitch, Paterson, Clarkson (McDonald 60), Burns (Foran 60). 
Subs not used: Corr, Partridge, Cowan, Keogh.

Booked: None.


Celtic  2     Motherwell  0 

MOTHERWELL ONCE AGAIN FAILED TO START THE NEW Season with a point as they succumbed to defeat at Parkhead. Although a spirited performance, Motherwell failed to deliver up front and in the end were punished for two errors. 

It was the Fir Parkers who began on the attack, Valgaeren having to look sharp cutting out a break by O'Donnell as he ran onto a Hammell ball. Paterson then found Hammell but across came Varga to concede a throw. A minute later again Valgaeren came to the home side's rescue when he denied Clarkson the chance to connect with a Hammell cross. Celtic's first real move saw Hartson block an O'Donnell ball and send Thompson wide though his cross went over. Hartson then won a corner shortly afterwards and when swung in Varga headed across where Corrigan cleared, with Leitch having to recover after a hefty Sutton challenge.  The home side then took the lead after some poor defending from Motherwell.  Failing to clear effectively the ball fell to McNamara on the angle of the box and he drove a shot which beat Marshall at his far post. Motherwell responded well, and after a corner was conceded by Agathe the ball came to Kinniburgh but he could only head wide. Thompson then picked out Hartson inside the Motherwell box but his volley was well wide of the target. Varga went on a run upfield and after exchanging passes with Hartson he went down like a ton of bricks under a softish Kinniburgh challenge. Thompson, however, drove well over. A hand ball by Sutton was then ignored allowing him to progress and force Marshall into a save. A good run from Hammell took play upfield. He passed for Paterson whose low cross was dug away by Varga. Despite an injury to O'Donnell soon after Referee Clark allowed play to continue, something he failed to do twice in the second half when Motherwell attacked. Celtic burst upfield with McGeady seeing his effort held. McGeady then brought down Paterson giving Motherwell a free kick. Kinniburgh got his head on the ball but could only find the side net. A snap shot from Hartson then had Marshall unable to hold, Craigan on hand to complete the clearance. Varga again burst forward though once again he went down easily as Leitch came in. Thompson put the ball in with Varga all over Craigan. No foul, with Hartson unable to take advantage just six yards out by blasting over. Loose play in the Motherwell midfield allowed Thompson to break and he fired wide. Motherwell could and should have drawn level eleven minutes from the break. Paterson did well to get a cross in and Burns headed over when he had the goal gaping. More great Paterson play almost played in Burns but the ball fell just behind the striker. The home side gained a corner when Kinniburgh denied McGeady a cross. Sutton rose to head in though Fagan was superbly positioned on the line to clear. Another corner arrived though O'Donnell cleared. Petrov regained possession but fell under minimal Leitch pressure, Referee Clark waving play on. Motherwell weren't out of things by any means and after Leitch and O'Donnell had combined Burns saw his effort desperately blocked by Valgaeren. Fagan was then fouled and from the free kick Hammell had his shot charged down. Petrov looked well off side moments later but play continued and Thompson had a cross tipped over by Marshall. The Fir Parkers broke with Clarkson who was denied by a Varga block.  

Half Time     Celtic  1     Motherwell  0 

Craigan produced a superb tackle early in the second half to deny Petrov as he made a dash into the box, Marshall gathering. Motherwell then had probably their best spell of the game shortly afterwards. Leitch sent Paterson wide and his terrific cross was only just prodded behind by Varga, the ball easily could have sneaked in at the near post. Varga again was there to rescue his side when Paterson made space. Petrov broke away though again, under minimal contact from Leitch, he went down with enough to convince Referee Clark to give a free kick.  Brilliant battling from Leitch then won back possession, Petrov this time unable to fall in a convincing manner. Clarkson gathered and crossed though Valgaeren conceded the corner. However, just as Motherwell were looking likely, they fell two behind. Thompson crossed from the left and Sutton snuck in ahead of Craigan to score. This affected the Fir Parkers and they almost fell further behind. A foul by Hartson on Leitch was ignored and as play continued Sutton broke to drive past the far post. A slip from Corrigan then gave Petrov the opportunity to break and find Thompson, though Marshall easily held his weak chip.  Motherwell made a double change, Burns replaced by Foran with Clarkson making way for McDonald. A cross from Agathe then found Sutton though the header was no problem for Marshall, sailing over the bar. Moments later Petrov connected with a Thompson ball; again Marshall was unconcerned with the effort. The home side made a change, Hartson making way for Camara. The home side came close when Thompson saw his shot knocked away by the alert Corrigan inside the box.  Motherwell almost pulled a goal back when terrific play from McDonald set up Leitch but he could only divert the ball past the post. Sean Fagan then made way for Fitzpatrick as Motherwell made their final change of the game. A cross from Sutton hand Craigan conceding a corner though a foul by Varga on Craigan ended the danger. Another home change had McGeady replaced by Pearson. Sub Camara then set up Lennon who put the ball well over the cross bar. The Referee then rather unfairly denied Motherwell on the break after Petrov had went down under no pressure. This time he was injured, though given the Referee's reluctance to halt play in the first half it was hardly consistent. Replaced by Sylla, play resumed. Motherwell finished the game attacking, both Corrigan and Paterson seeing shots blocked on the edge of the box.  

Full time     Celtic  2     Motherwell  0

Match Report by Ricky Mullen