Motherwell 2, Celtic 1
|Match Date: Saturday, May 22 2005|
|Competition: Scottish Premier League|
|Motherwell Team (4-4-2):|
Marshall, Corrigan, Craigan, Kinniburgh, Paterson, Foran, Kerr, Fagan,
Fitzpatrick (Clarkson 88), McDonald, Hamilton (Britton 85).
Subs not used: Corr, Higgins, Connolly, Keogh, Smith.
Motherwell scorer: McDonald (87, 90).
Booked: Foran, Craigan.
SUPER STEELMEN WRECK CELTICíS TITLE DREAM
Motherwell 2, Celtic 1
AN INCREDIBLE LAST FIVE MINUTES Saw Motherwell gain their first Old Firm victory of the season and also the visitorsí title dream vanish. Needing a win, Celtic had a half-time lead but saw this disappear via Scott McDonaldís fabulous double as time ran out.
An early run from the controversial Bellamy saw him force a corner off Martyn Corrigan in the first minute. Foran and Balde jostled in the box and a ridiculous decision from Referee Dallas saw Foran booked when a word of warning would have sufficed. A long ball from Craigan then sent McDonald scurrying towards the by line but he was unable to keep the ball in. McDonald then almost burst through onto a Hamilton ball with Varga just able to clear. Bellamy again made a run to the by line, running onto a Thompson pass, and he whipped a cross along the six yard line which went out of play. Hamilton then did well to dispossess Lennon but amazingly the Referee gave a free kick to the visitors. The ball ran to McNamara who dramatically fell when challenged by Corrigan. However, from the free kick Hartson was well off side. A clash between Bellamy and Kinniburgh saw the Celtic player crash to the ground. As soon as it became clear he wasnít getting a free kick he furiously leapt to his feet complaining bitterly. Corrigan sent a long ball upfield where it appeared to strike Balde on the arm but play continued. Balde then flattened McDonald but there was no card shown. The free kick take was probably one Brian Kerr would want to forget. Bellamy still continued to mutter away and was warned by the Referee but again no caution came. Similarly, Hartson was very late on Craigan but the only action was a free kick. A one-two involving Bellamy and Sutton opened up the defence though Marshall did well to parry the shot behind. Craigan cleared, and McDonald evaded a desperate Agathe lunge to burst forward. The ball to Foran broke in favour of Kerr but he shot wide. Sending in a low cross was Bellamy to which Kinniburgh could only knock behind. This was cleared, but Celtic again attacked. Agathe crossed deep for Hartson who was pushing Kinniburgh. There was no foul given though Marshall held the effort in any case. Doing well to get to the by line was Foran and his cross caused problems as Fitzpatrick headed goalwards. McNamara cleared only s far as Agathe who handled. The free kick, however, was curled over from McDonald. Motherwell pushed upfield again with Fitzpatrick finding McDonald. His shot struck Balde to go behind and the corner, when swung in, fell to Kerr who drove wide. Petrov then found Sutton but he was unable to overly concern Marshall. Celtic gained a corner when a Sutton push on Kerr was ignored. The Motherwell defence dealt comfortably with it, but had to defend again soon afterwards when Paterson was adjudged to have fouled Petrov. However, the danger was soon averted with a Varga offence on Craigan. The game was fairly even, but it was the visitors who took advantage just before the half hour. Foran was short with a pass to Corrigan and this allowed Thompson to break out wide. His fierce cross was parried by Marshal with Sutton first to react to net. Motherwell almost hit back immediately when only a crucial interception from Balde stopped McDonald finding Hamilton. A foul by Balde, again on McDonald, and once more punishable only by means of a free kick, saw Kerr strike his effort against the wall. The Fir Parkers kept up the attack with Varga forced to concede a corner ahead of McDonald. However, this was cleared before the visitors gained a corner of their own. Although Kinniburgh conceded another, Marshall and Paterson combined to clear. Thompson went down very easily under a Paterson challenge to win a free kick though he recovered sufficiently to blast it well over. Craigan was harshly adjudged to have taken out Bellamy illegally though it appeared the Northern Irish International had won the ball. For his troubles, Craigan was also yellow carded. However, after leaving the field, as is the ruling, Bellamy decided to return without permission and paid the price for his Schoolboy error by receiving a yellow card. Bellamy continued to argue with the Referee but somehow managed to stay on the park despite clear dissent.
Half Time: Motherwell 0, Celtic 1
Motherwell came out with all guns blazing at the start of the second half and were only inches away from immediately levelling. Good work from Scott McDonald saw him force a corner. Paterson found Craigan and his header struck Agathe on the line with such force he needed treatment once play had stopped. Prior to the stoppage, Kinniburgh also had a chance but McNamara somehow managed to prevent it going goalwards. McDonald did well to turn on the edge of the box shortly afterwards but his effort went over the top. The striker then turned provider to find Fitzpatrick though he in turn could only find the arms of Douglas. A hefty Sutton challenge left Kinniburgh needing treatment though he was able to return fairly swiftly. The visitors rode the storm and carved out a chance of their own. Hartson passed wide to Bellamy and Craigan cleared the cross, though Thompsonís return saw Foran concede a corner. Craigan similarly knocked behind, though from Petrov and Thompson play Hartson headed a chance over the bar. Soon afterwards Petrov sent Bellamy clear on Marshall but the keeper produced a superb save to block the shot. Thompsonís low cross next minute was deflected behind by Craigan with Paterson clearing this one up. A break by Sutton took him beyond Kinniburgh though Marshall did superbly to rush from goals and block. Then a slip from Kerr gave Sutton another opportunity but once again it was Marshall blocking to maximum effect. The Motherwell custodian was having a busy time of it, and Celtic again attacked attempting to put the game beyond the Fir Parkers. McNamaraís cross was headed into the path of Hartson by Sutton but the Welshman couldnít shoot beyond Marshall who held at the second attempt. A Thompson shot then flew well over from outside the box before superb tackling from Paterson prevented Thompson going clear on Marshall at the expense of a corner. Hamilton cleared as far as Bellamy which Hartson met but could only win a corner which Marshall gathered. Motherwell at last broke out and mounted an attack of some menace. McDonald crossed from deep to find Foran but he could not direct a header goalwards. A foul by Lennon on Paterson gave Motherwell a free kick 35 yards out but Hamilton was then adjudged to have fouled Douglas. A visiting change had Hartson replaced by Beattie. The Fir Parkers were gradually coming back into the game, and a Corrigan ball down the wing was crossed in by Foran. There to meet it was McDonald but Varga was on hand to block. Craigan then found McDonald who nicked a corner off Agathe. Douglas completely missed the ball as it came in but Sutton rescued him. Following a foul on Fitzpatrick by Agathe, the visitors broke upfield with Bellamy sending Beattie wide but he trod on the ball giving possession back to Motherwell. Paterson crossed for Foran but again the header was wide of the target. Motherwell continued to press, and Hamilton saw an effort blocked outside the box. Fitzpatrick recovered the ball and supplied Hamilton who volleyed over the top. It was Hamiltonís last involvement as Gerry Britton replaced him. Bulgarian Petrov somehow managed to escape a booking when he showed clear dissent to the Referee. Likewise, Sutton wasnít booked for a ridiculous challenge on Kerr. Motherwell made a further change, Fitzpatrick making way for Clarkson, and as the game entered the 88th. Minute the drama exploded. A clearance fell to Foran and his half volley was brilliantly controlled by McDonald. With his back to goals and Balde in close attendance the striker hooked a superb first-time effort over Douglas and into the back of the net. It sparked wild celebrations amongst the Motherwell support, but that was just the beginning. A minute and-a-half into injury time McDonald collected a long clearance up the park wide on the right. He jinked his way into the box and, despite having three fellow Motherwell players to pick from, took the chance himself and with the aid of a slight deflection lifted the ball over Douglas again and into the top left-hand area of the goal. That really did ignite the Motherwell fans, and soon afterwards the game was over. A truly remarkable ending to the match, with both players and fans alike showing the appreciation of each otherís efforts at the end of a remarkable season.
Full Time: Motherwell 2, Celtic 1
Match Report by Ricky Mullen