CELTIC strolled to victory against Motherwell as a first half strike by Odsonne Edouard and an own goal from Richard Tait after the break kept the champions top of the Premiership.

Here are five talking points from Celtic Park…


Time was, opposition teams facing Celtic or Rangers after either side of the Old Firm had come off the back of a big European tie would look to exploit tired legs and minds, but there were no real signs of fatigue from Celtic after the huge effort expended in Rome on Thursday night.

Yes, they did have the slip-up at Livingston after the win over Cluj, but with Rangers breathing down their necks, the Celtic players knew they couldn’t afford another off-day here.

Neil Lennon does of course benefit from a strong squad, but again he resisted the temptation to make wholesale changes against a decent Motherwell outfit.

Thursday’s last-gasp goal hero Olivier Ntcham was brought in from the start and was excellent as he picked passes in behind the frontline, while livewire right-back Jeremie Frimpong brought fresh energy and enthusiasm to the side.

Ultimately it was too much for Motherwell, and Celtic boss Lennon will have been pleased to have been able to give James Forrest a decent rest too with the game essentially settled with the second goal early in the second half.


The Celtic captain just keeps racking up the milestones, and he strolled through his 550th appearance for the club as if it was his first.

Motherwell tried to pack the midfield, but Brown more than held his own against the legs of the young Motherwell duo Allan Campbell and Barry Maguire, using his experience to find the space and dictate the play. It will be a lesson to both players, who showed in flashes what they too are capable of.

The only real headache the Celtic skipper had on the day though was the one given to him by his keeper, Fraser Forster, who clocked him with a punch to the back of the head as he came to clear a Motherwell corner, but it was the visiting midfield that picked up second prize on the day.

He will now enjoy a well-earned rest during the international break.


Motherwell’s game-plan at Celtic Park was clear, as manager Stephen Robinson went with five across the back as he tried to frustrate the hosts and stay in the game for as long as possible, with a view to bringing on the pace of Sherwin Seedorf and Jermain Hylton later in the game.

It worked to a point, but when you are up against strikers of the calibre of Edouard, it only takes a single lapse for the best laid plans to be torn asunder.

So it proved, as Declan Gallagher’s tackle on James Forrest fell perfectly for the striker to break Motherwell’s resistance.

The last thing you can afford to do is give Celtic a helping hand, and the Steelmen were culpable of doing so again when the killer second goal arrived as Tait could only help the excellent Jonny Hayes’s wicked cross into his own net.

The gap between the Old Firm and the rest is such though, that coming away with a 2-0 defeat is seen as something of a decent result for visitors to Glasgow this season.


Celtic manager Neil Lennon spoke on Friday of his concern over the workload being placed on his 21-year-old frontman, with Leigh Griffiths still not fit enough to take his place on the bench for the visit of Motherwell and Vakoun Issouf Bayo still some way short of being able to contribute again. The Frenchman just keeps churning out the performances though.

He got the opener here, his thirteenth goal of the season in all competitions, underlining his importance to the Celtic cause yet again.

While much is often made about the technical ability of Edouard, and rightly so, he showed here that he also has a predatory instinct when required.

Mohamed Elyounoussi’s ball into the box found Forrest, with Gallagher managing to get a foot in to tackle his Scotland teammate. The ball broke loose and Edouard was the first to anticipate it, pouncing to finish superbly past Mark Gillespie.

He wasn’t at his sparkling best, and he may well have made more of a few opportunities on the counter, but the fact that Celtic were unable to even give him a breather at two goals to the good showed just how little depth there currently is up front.

Lennon, along with the entire Celtic support, will be hoping and praying that the frontman steers clear of injury.


The big defender was slightly unlucky as his tackle on Forrest inadvertently allowed Edouard to put Celtic ahead, but he showed here why he has caught the eye of Scotland manager Steve Clarke with an accomplished showing.

His tackle on Elyounoussi in particular in the first half was sensational, with the red-hot winger trying to cut inside in the area with Gallagher last man. If he had got it wrong, it would either have been a penalty or a certain goal, but he timed it perfectly to stride away with the ball.

It was the highlight of a very decent personal showing from the former Livingston centre-half, who defended well in the air and used the ball well too on the deck.

He is coming on leaps and bounds.