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It was the late, late show at Fir Park as two goals in added time from Adam Idah and Luis Palma gave Celtic all three points at Fir Park.

Motherwell had gone into the break with their noses in front after Blair Spittal’s goal just before the break. Idah restored parity when he came off the bench to head Celtic onto level terms five minutes into the second period. But while Celtic huffed and puffed it looked for long stretches of this game that they would ship more points. The dramatic last gasp rally means that the deficit at the top is two points with Rangers leading the pack.

It took until the fourth minute of added time before Idah turned Alistair Johnston’s cross into the net from close range with Palma lent a gloss to the scoreline with Celtic’s third – which survived a VAR check – with almost the last kick of the ball.

Celtic were significantly better in the second period but the question will remain whether this is a result that kickstarts their season or whether it simply papers over the cracks.

Certainly, there was an element of unity in the full-time celebrations with the supporters applauding the team as well as Brendan Rodgers as they took a bow at the whistle. It was in stark contrast to the jeers that had rang out when Rodgers had taken off Tomoki Iwata in the second period.

“Listen, if we drew the game, four points is nothing, it really isn’t,” said Rodgers. “With 11 games to go, it’s not an insurmountable lead. But obviously to get the win is important for mentality and convincing of how we play. We play with those connections, play with that aggression and that mentality, we’ll win more games than we draw or lose.

“Second half was absolutely brilliant and it always seems to be late goals here at Motherwell over the two spells. I’m really pleased for everyone.”

Rodgers also praised Idah who came off the bench at the break.

“Kyogo had a little knock on his shoulder but we weren’t getting anything. That’s the reality. Kyogo’s strengths are running in behind and running into space, but this is a game when we need that, and Adam can do that, we also need a reference in the team.

“And as soon as the big guy comes into the game, he sets it up so well for us. He scores two brilliant goals. His first one is an amazing header – it’s a great cross by Greg [Taylor] but his header is absolutely brilliant. And then obviously he makes his first-post run and gets the second one. I think the guys coming into the game made a really good impact.

“Yang was good, he gave us the width and attacked on the outside and created space for the passes inside. Palma comes in and scores a goal as well, gets into the second post for the cross. I thought for the mentality of the team, the quality they showed – and the pitch was a wee bit bobbly – I thought the second half they were brilliant.”

For Motherwell, this will feel like points that got away.


Theo Bair had posted a portent of what was to come when he stole in behind Liam Scales before dinking the ball into the back of the net but his effort was chopped off as VAR ruled that he was offside.

Motherwell, though, were not to be dissuaded from their task as they looked to take the game to Celtic.

With Celtic’s wide players struggling to impose themselves on the game there was little real menace for Motherwell keeper Liam Kelly to deal with. He had one half save from Kyogo Furuhashi but other than that did not have to muddy his gloves.

On the cusp of the break Spittal put Motherwell in front. Teenager Lennon Miller was the architect of the goal as his deft feet and movement allowed him to elude Callum McGregor before he squared the ball to Spittal at the edge of the box. The midfielder curled a glorious effort well beyond the reach of Joe Hart to send Motherwell into the break with their noses in front.

Rodgers took off Kyogo and sent on Idaho with the on-loan Norwich striker restoring parity within five minutes. He rose to bullet a header past Kelly from Greg Taylor’s cross as Celtic dragged themselves back into the game.

They pushed for a second but Motherwell continued to probe. The excellent Miller thought he had restored Motherwell’s lead with a dipping header that Hart had to claw away before Celtic made further changes.

Cameron Carter-Vickers took over from Maik Nawrocki while Yang arrived to take the ineffective Kuhn’s place.

Daizen Maeda had a diving header creep past the post from Alistair Johnston’s delivery and got closer again a few minutes later when he steered an effort over the bar from Yang’s cross which he just couldn’t quite connect with cleanly.

Scales forced a save from Kelly with a glancing header before Idah stooped to nod a header wide of Kelly’s post.

There was late drama for Celtic as Idah netted his second of the game before Palma added a third to seal the deal.

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