Scottish Premiership
Motherwell1Celtic1

Motherwell 1-1 Celtic

Scott Sinclair converts a late penalty for Celtic
Scott Sinclair kept his nerve to score his 12th goal of the season

Scott Sinclair's controversial penalty with two minutes left extended Celtic's unbeaten domestic run to 66 games as Motherwell were denied a historic win.

Mikael Lustig's own goal in the 78th minute, diverting Craig Tanner's free-kick, threatened an upset.

But when Callum McGregor went down after an Andy Rose challenge, Sinclair kept his nerve to send the spot-kick high into the left corner.

Well keeper Trevor Carson had earlier denied McGregor and Kieran Tierney.

It was the closest Celtic have come to defeat since their last loss to Scottish opponents - against St Johnstone - back in May 2016.

But a point was enough to extend their lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership to four points, with a game in hand, after Aberdeen's 3-0 defeat at Rangers.

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Scott Sinclair scores a late penalty to preserve Celtic's unbeaten domestic run

Motherwell knew if they were to stand a chance of stopping the Celtic steamroller, they would have to turn the match into a battle and they did just that from the first whistle.

They pressured and fought the visitors over every blade of the Fir Park pitch, trying to knock Celtic out of their stride, and looked comfortable in possession but chances were scarce.

Motherwell players surround referee Willie Collum after he awarded a late penalty
Motherwell players surrounded referee Willie Collum to protest after he awarded a late penalty

In response Celtic were forced to make quicker passes and at times they looked more frantic than they wanted to be.

They also suffered an early blow when Patrick Roberts pulled up with a hamstring problem that will require a scan, and makes him a doubt for the Champions League visit of Anderlecht next Tuesday.

Callum McGregor was the first to find a gap and his fierce shot was well saved by Carson after impressive build-up play involving Leigh Griffiths and Tom Rogic.

They had their goalkeeper to thank for going into the interval on equal terms after he pulled off a fabulous stop from Tierney.

The Celtic left-back blasted low from six yards out after mesmerising one-touch build-up play carved the hosts' defence open, but Carson somehow got an arm to the effort and the ball flew over the bar.

Tierney was involved again minutes after the restart after sprinting clear of Richard Tait on the left flank, but Griffiths couldn't convert his inch-perfect cross. James Forrest pounced on the resulting block but his effort was also denied by a ruck of lunging Motherwell defenders.

Carson then dived low to deny McGregor after the midfielder let fly with another powerful effort. It was beginning to feel all very familiar.

Motherwell refused to buckle though and Louis Moult had a chance from eight yards out after a mix-up in the Celtic defence, but the striker snapped at the effort and it sailed over the bar.

As the game became more stretched, McGregor - again - and Griffiths both watched chances flash just wide.

But space was opening up at the other end and substitute Craig Tanner passed up a golden opportunity with a wayward header after a great cross from Chris Cadden.

Mikael Lustig diverts Craig Tanner's free-kick into his own net
Mikael Lustig diverted Craig Tanner's free-kick into his own net

But with 11 minutes left, they took the lead courtesy of a Celtic player. Tanner flighted in a free-kick from 40 yards out and Lustig stretched to clear but instead turned it past the helpless Craig Gordon.

Fir Park erupted as the home fans realised their side was on the verge of blowing away their Hampden blues and creating history.

As the champions threw everything forward, Tom Rogic watched his effort bounce off the base of the post and back into Carson's arms.

Then after Carson pulled off another fabulous stop, McGregor went down inside the Motherwell box under the challenge of Rose and referee Willie Collum pointed to the spot. The home fans were furious but up stepped substitute Sinclair to fire it home.

He wheeled away with his finger to his lips, aimed at the Motherwell fans who had been calling him "cheat" for winning a controversial penalty in Sunday's League Cup final against the same opponents.

The travelling support rose to their feet and bounced in unison and relief. Record intact - just.

Line-ups

Motherwell

  • 1Carson
  • 21Kipre
  • 6Hartley
  • 18DunneBooked at 86mins
  • 2Tait
  • 22CampbellBooked at 51mins
  • 8McHughBooked at 74minsSubstituted forBowmanat 75'minutes
  • 11FrearSubstituted forTannerat 66'minutes
  • 7Cadden
  • 9MoultBooked at 81mins
  • 20PetraviciusSubstituted forRoseat 45'minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Grimshaw
  • 5Bigirimana
  • 12Bowman
  • 13Griffiths
  • 14Plummer
  • 15Rose
  • 27Tanner

Celtic

  • 1Gordon
  • 23LustigSubstituted forEdouardat 81'minutes
  • 5Simunovic
  • 20Boyata
  • 63Tierney
  • 14ArmstrongSubstituted forSinclairat 73'minutes
  • 8Brown
  • 7RobertsSubstituted forRogicat 11'minutes
  • 42McGregor
  • 49Forrest
  • 9GriffithsBooked at 90mins

Substitutes

  • 11Sinclair
  • 18Rogic
  • 21Ntcham
  • 22Edouard
  • 24de Vries
  • 28Sviatchenko
  • 35Ajer
Referee:
William Collum
Attendance:
9,164

Match Stats

Home TeamMotherwellAway TeamCeltic
Possession
Home49%
Away51%
Shots
Home5
Away21
Shots on Target
Home1
Away7
Corners
Home4
Away7
Fouls
Home18
Away8

Live Text

Match ends, Motherwell 1, Celtic 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Motherwell 1, Celtic 1.

Booking

Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Peter Hartley.

Attempt saved. Callum McGregor (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Goal!

Goal! Motherwell 1, Celtic 1. Scott Sinclair (Celtic) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the top left corner.

Penalty conceded by Andy Rose (Motherwell) after a foul in the penalty area.

Penalty Celtic. Callum McGregor draws a foul in the penalty area.

Jozo Simunovic (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Craig Tanner (Motherwell).

Booking

Charles Dunne (Motherwell) is shown the yellow card.

Tomas Rogic (Celtic) hits the right post with a right footed shot from outside the box.

Foul by Charles Dunne (Motherwell).

James Forrest (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. Scott Sinclair (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Odsonne Edouard replaces Mikael Lustig.

Booking

Louis Moult (Motherwell) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Scott Brown (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Louis Moult (Motherwell).

Goal!

Own Goal by Mikael Lustig, Celtic. Motherwell 1, Celtic 0.

Louis Moult (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Scott Brown (Celtic).

Attempt saved. Kieran Tierney (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Substitution

Substitution, Motherwell. Ryan Bowman replaces Carl McHugh.

Booking

Carl McHugh (Motherwell) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Carl McHugh (Motherwell).

Callum McGregor (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. Tomas Rogic (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Scott Sinclair replaces Stuart Armstrong.

Attempt saved. Craig Tanner (Motherwell) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Jozo Simunovic.

Charles Dunne (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Mikael Lustig (Celtic).

Attempt missed. Craig Tanner (Motherwell) header from the centre of the box misses to the left.

Substitution

Substitution, Motherwell. Craig Tanner replaces Elliott Frear.

Attempt missed. Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

Attempt missed. Callum McGregor (Celtic) right footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the right following a fast break.

Mikael Lustig (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Elliott Frear (Motherwell).

Foul by Richard Tait (Motherwell).

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic1410403172434
2Aberdeen159332318530
3Rangers1583431171427
4Hibernian157532317626
5Motherwell147252116523
6St Johnstone145361521-618
7Hearts154561318-517
8Hamilton154472225-316
9Ross County154381422-815
10Kilmarnock152671222-1012
11Dundee153391526-1112
12Partick Thistle142571223-1111
View full Scottish Premiership table

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