Scottish Premiership

Motherwell 1-2 Celtic

By Tom EnglishBBC Scotland at Fir Park

Two Leigh Griffiths goals in a madcap win over Motherwell moved defending champions Celtic eight points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership.

Celtic had eight attempts on goal in the first half - including a missed Griffiths penalty - before the striker made amends just before the break.

Motherwell had their goalkeeper Connor Ripley to thank for keeping them in it before Scott McDonald equalised.

But Griffiths struck again, the ball squirming through Ripley's legs.

It was a bitter end to what had been a terrific performance by the Englishman.

Celtic lorded it early on. The irony was that of all their pot-shots at goal the one shot that did not trouble Ripley was that missed Griffiths penalty.

Patrick Roberts, excellent in the first half, had the first of those chances, Nir Bitton the second and Griffiths the third. All of them were beaten away by Ripley.

Midway through the half, Roberts' quick feet bamboozled Morgaro Gomis and the penalty was won - and then missed. Griffiths pulled his effort wide of Ripley's left-hand post. Bizarrely for a man who has scored buckets of goals this season, it was Griffiths' fourth miss from the penalty spot since August.

Leigh Griffiths misses a penalty for Celtic against Motherwell
Griffiths fired his spot-kick attempt past the post

Ripley continued dealing with the Celtic barrage. Lovely build-up play put Colin Kazim-Richards through on goal but Ripley denied him, this time with his feet.

Motherwell, in that opening half, had none of the edge that had helped them win five on the spin. Their use of the ball was awful, their composure suffering some kind of peculiar bypass.

They continued to invite Celtic on to them. Kieran Tierney and Roberts, again, forced saves from Ripley. True, many of these blocks from the keeper were from attempts delivered straight down his throat, but he had still made seven saves by the time the game was 40 minutes old.

A minute before the break, he was beaten at last, Tierney delivering from the left and Griffiths sweeping it home from close range. One goal was the least that their pressure deserved, but even that slender margin was to be wiped out soon enough.

Motherwell turned up at the party in the second half. At last, they had a bit of attitude and accuracy going forward.

McDonald had the ball in the Celtic net 10 minutes into the half but it was disallowed, controversially, for offside. Celtic now became the nervy team. Dedryck Boyata was an unsettling presence at the heart of their defence as Motherwell's confidence grew.

The equaliser came on the hour when Chris Cadden got the better of Tierney on the left and pulled it back for Celtic's old boy, McDonald, to thump home, aided by a slight deflection off Boyata's knee. It was an emphatic finish from the Australian - one that utterly stunned the visitors.

Scott McDonald celebrates after scoring for Motherwell against Celtic
McDonald (far right) scored against his former club

Celtic dug it out, though. With 15 minutes left - and just after an angry exchange that could have seen Kazim-Richards sent off - Griffiths struck again, his snapshot going through Ripley's legs.

A frustrated figure for much of the afternoon, the irrepressible Celtic striker found a way of getting the job done - again.



Formation 4-4-1-1

  • 1Ripley
  • 18Law
  • 16Kennedy
  • 6McManusBooked at 83mins
  • 3Hammell
  • 26CaddenSubstituted forAinsworthat 76'minutes
  • 14LasleySubstituted forLeitchat 76'minutes
  • 17GomisSubstituted forThomasat 90'minutes
  • 11Johnson
  • 77McDonald
  • 20Moult


  • 7Ainsworth
  • 13Samson
  • 15Chalmers
  • 21Leitch
  • 23Thomas
  • 28Watt
  • 32Hall


Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Gordon
  • 23Lustig
  • 20Boyata
  • 21Mulgrew
  • 63Tierney
  • 8Brown
  • 6Bitton
  • 27RobertsSubstituted forS Armstrongat 90+1'minutes
  • 25JohansenSubstituted forRogicat 70'minutes
  • 13Kazim-RichardsBooked at 75minsSubstituted forMcGregorat 76'minutes
  • 9GriffithsBooked at 45mins


  • 3Izaguirre
  • 4Ambrose
  • 14S Armstrong
  • 15Commons
  • 18Rogic
  • 38Fasan
  • 42McGregor
William Collum

Match Stats

Home TeamMotherwellAway TeamCeltic
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Motherwell 1, Celtic 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Motherwell 1, Celtic 2.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Louis Moult (Motherwell) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

  4. Post update

    Attempt missed. Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) left footed shot from long range on the right is close, but misses to the right.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Jack Leitch (Motherwell).

  6. Post update

    Nir Bitton (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  7. Substitution

    Substitution, Celtic. Stuart Armstrong replaces Patrick Roberts.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Scott McDonald (Motherwell).

  9. Post update

    Nir Bitton (Celtic) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, Motherwell. Dom Thomas replaces Morgaro Gomis.

  11. Post update

    Attempt saved. Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  12. Post update

    Attempt saved. Lionel Ainsworth (Motherwell) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  13. Post update

    Attempt missed. Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) left footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.

  14. Booking

    Stephen McManus (Motherwell) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Stephen McManus (Motherwell).

  16. Post update

    Nir Bitton (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  17. Post update

    Attempt missed. Louis Moult (Motherwell) header from the left side of the box misses to the left.

  18. Post update

    Lionel Ainsworth (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Callum McGregor (Celtic).

  20. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Lionel Ainsworth (Motherwell) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.