Match ends, Celtic 4, Motherwell 0.
- Celtic move top of the Scottish Premiership
- Mikael Lustig scores twice on return from injury
- Third consecutive win with clean sheet for Celtic
- Fourth straight loss for Motherwell
Celtic eased back to the top of the Premiership in style as Motherwell were torn to pieces at Parkhead.
Virgil van Dijk and Leigh Griffiths helped themselves to close-range headers in the first half, with Anthony Stokes the supplier on both occasions.
With the hosts utterly dominant, Mikael Lustig tucked away a cross from James Forrest after the break.
And a comprehensive victory was settled when Lustig crashed in an impressive late diving header.
The Swedish defender, making his return from a two-month injury break as a half-time replacement, was denied a hat-trick in the final minutes when he struck the crossbar - the third time Celtic had hit the woodwork.
The one-sided triumph lifts Celtic one point ahead of Aberdeen, with a game in hand, while a fourth consecutive loss for Motherwell leaves them just two points above the relegation play-off place.
That a full-back should be so close to taking home the match ball is telling, since the position played an integral part in this demolition.
With Motherwell posing no attacking threat, Emilio Izaguirre and Adam Matthews, then Lustig, were allowed to push high up the park and the trio were a constant threat.
Stefan Johansen went close with a powerful drive from 30 yards, while a Stokes free-kick was not far off target before the breakthrough goal arrived.
A Stokes corner was nodded back into his path and he swung a precise cross towards the far post where the towering Van Dijk was waiting to head in his seventh goal of the season.
Stephen Pearson was given a start on his return to Motherwell and his promising break down the right flank almost resulted in an equaliser. Lacking any support, the midfielder went for an ambitious angled chip and Celtic keeper Craig Gordon was relieved to see the shot drift narrowly wide of the top corner.
The visitors continued to camp on the edge of their own penalty box in a bid to repel Celtic's often over-elaborate attacks, but were undone moments before the interval when Griffiths darted in behind the hard-pressed rearguard to head home another good delivery from Stokes.
Celtic skipper Scott Brown volleyed over the top early in the second half before Motherwell were presented with a good chance to reduce the deficit.
Stuart Carswell stole the ball from Izaguirre and slipped a pass to substitute Dominic Thomas but the teenager hurried a shot into the side-netting from 12 yards.
With Celtic relentless and the overburdened visitors tiring, frequent holes began to appear in the Motherwell defence.
Johansen struck the post with a stooping header from Izaguirre's delicious, curling delivery, with keeper Dan Twardzik first to the loose ball.
Soon after, Twardzik made a good sprawling save to keep out a fierce strike from Johansen and Izaguirre somehow hit the crossbar from five yards, having been teed up by Griffiths.
Twardzik pushed away two shots from Kris Commons either side of the third goal, which saw substitutes Forrest and Lustig combine to good effect.
Forrest scurried forward from the left and his low cross was swept home from by the defender in a busy penalty area.
The best goal was saved for last when Lustig surged forward to power a fantastic header into the top corner as he ran on to a Griffiths cross.
The Swede then sent a rising shot against the frame of the goal with beleaguered Motherwell caught napping at a free-kick near the touchline as Celtic sent out an ominous warning to their challengers.
- 2MatthewsSubstituted forLustigat 45'minutes
- 5van Dijk
- 10StokesSubstituted forForrestat 64'minutes
- 25JohansenSubstituted forScepovicat 70'minutes
- 15O'BrienSubstituted forMooreat 71'minutes
- 18LawBooked at 85mins
- 7AinsworthSubstituted forThomasat 45'minutes
- 9SuttonSubstituted forErwinat 67'minutes
- Bobby Madden
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Celtic 4, Motherwell 0.
Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Dan Twardzik.
Attempt saved. Scott Brown (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.
Mikael Lustig (Celtic) hits the bar with a right footed shot from the centre of the box.
Josh Law (Motherwell) is shown the yellow card.
Mikael Lustig (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Josh Law (Motherwell).
Goal! Celtic 4, Motherwell 0. Mikael Lustig (Celtic) header from the centre of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Leigh Griffiths.
Attempt missed. Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) right footed shot from the left side of the box is just a bit too high.
Goal! Celtic 3, Motherwell 0. Mikael Lustig (Celtic) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by James Forrest.
Attempt missed. Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right.
Substitution, Motherwell. Craig Moore replaces Mark O'Brien.
Substitution, Celtic. Stefan Scepovic replaces Stefan Johansen.
Substitution, Motherwell. Lee Erwin replaces John Sutton.
Attempt saved. Nir Bitton (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.
Emilio Izaguirre (Celtic) hits the bar with a right footed shot from the centre of the box.
Substitution, Celtic. James Forrest replaces Anthony Stokes.
Attempt saved. Stefan Johansen (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Stefan Johansen (Celtic) hits the right post with a header from the centre of the box.