CELTIC might not currently have a fit striker, but when they have Tom Rogic in their team, they always have a chance.

The mercurial midfielder made the difference here against a well-drilled Motherwell outfit, who caused a few problems before eventually being seen off by Ange Postecoglou’s men.

They had to answer Rangers’ earlier victory over Hearts at Tynecastle though without a recognised frontman, while they also lost James Forrest to an early knock here to restrict their attacking options further.

Despite some positive noises from Celtic manager Postecoglou about his star man Kyogo following the hamstring injury he sustained against Real Betis on Thursday night, he didn’t make the squad. David Turnbull took up the central attacking role, while the rest of the side had a much more familiar look about it following the wholesale changes of midweek.

The issues up top were clear for all to see here, particularly as Motherwell didn’t have their own troubles to seek in defence. Injuries to Rickie Lamie, Juhani Ojala and Sondre Solholm had left them with just one recognised centre-back in the shape of Bevis Mugabi, so left-back Jake Carroll was pressed into unfamiliar territory in the middle of the backline.

On the whole, they dealt with the threat posed by Celtic well enough, but for some early wobbles and Celtic’s well-worked free-kick that gave them the all-important goal.

The home side had cut through that makeshift Motherwell defence almost instantly, a scooped pass from Callum McGregor putting Forrest in on Liam Kelly, who did just enough to put him off as the ball squirted wide.

Carroll managed to get himself in front of a Rogic effort when it seemed certain the Australian would burst the net, and at that point, it was shaping up to be a long old afternoon for the Steelmen.

Motherwell showed though they had a counter punch or two in their locker as Callum Slattery got onto a loose ball and steadied himself before curling a left-foot effort off the face of Joe Hart’s crossbar.

Forrest then limped from the action to be replaced by Mikey Johnston, but it was the hosts’ hesitancy at the other end that was causing palpitations around Celtic Park.

Some hacked high clearances from Cameron Carter-Vickers gave Tony Watt and then Kevin van Veen sniffs at goal before the offside flag came to the home side’s aid.

Motherwell again caused problems in the Celtic area as Kaiyne Woolery’s shot was blocked and the ball fell for Watt to flash across goal, before Sean Goss’s deflected effort was brilliantly saved by Hart low to his left.

Celtic needed a lift, and the home fans tried to give them it, apart of course from the Green Brigade section in the North Curve area of the stadium, who continued their silent protest against Bernard Higgins even when their team could have been doing with some backing.

There was finally something of a spark provided by substitute Johnston for the hosts, drifting in off the left and shooting back across goal and into the side netting, but the first meaningful save for Kelly didn’t come until five minutes before the interval.

The ball broke for former Motherwell man Turnbull on the edge of the area, and his stinging effort was deflected with Kelly already committed. The visiting keeper did brilliantly to adjust his body and throw a strong hand up to get it up and over the bar.

Just before the break though Celtic were handed an opportunity on the edge of the Motherwell area as Slattery was adjudged to have fouled Rogic, with Turnbull grabbing the ball. It looked a prime position for an ins-swinging effort on goal, but he instead passed along the edge of the box where Rogic had cleverly worked a yard of space to blast high into the roof of the net.

It was almost the last kick of the half and rough justice on a Motherwell side that had acquitted themselves well, but if you fail to take your chances at Celtic Park when they arrive, more often than not you will live to regret it.

Motherwell almost had more cause for regret immediately after the break as they ceded possession from kick-off, allowing Johnston to drive forward to feed Turnbull, who in turn put Rogic in on goal. This time though Kelly got out well to block behind and keep his side in the game.

Celtic were a great deal more comfortable in the second period than they had been in the first, with the visitors struggling to get up the pitch to the same effect that they had in the opening 45 minutes.

The fans were still craving that second goal that would settle any remaining nerves, but aside from a Johnston header that Kelly comfortably fielded, the attack remained a little blunt.

Fortunately for them, the same was true of Motherwell, with substitute Connor Shields passing up a decent headed opportunity moments after coming on for van Veen.

Substitute Johnston was then subbed off for Anthony Ralston in what appeared a rare sign of Postecoglou pragmatism, but almost immediately the move to put Juranovic further forward on the right almost paid off.

The Croatian darted in down the wing and pulled back for Rogic, but in a rare miscue from him, he sliced the ball wide with the goal at his mercy.

To be reliant on Rogic coming up with the goals to see Celtic through this spell will be a stretch. So much may hinge – perhaps even Celtic’s title hopes - on how quickly they can get Kyogo back onto the field.