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Motherwell 0-1 Celtic: Match Report
Published : 29 Aug 2010 11:27:14
Daryl Murphy's second-half penalty allowed Celtic to bounce back from their Europa League humbling in Utrecht as they beat Motherwell 1-0 at Fir Park.
A much-changed Celtic side had the better of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash but struggled to get past Darren Randolph before the influential Shaun Maloney won a penalty after being fouled by Steven Saunders. Saunders was sent off and Motherwell failed to recover from the blow as Murphy stroked home the 73rd-minute spot-kick.
The defeat in Holland was the third cup clash Celtic have lost since Lennon took over but he continued his perfect SPL record with an 11th consecutive victory against a Motherwell side who looked jaded following their European exit against Odense, when they did everything but score in a 1-0 loss.
Both sides had great chances to open the scoring inside three minutes. John Sutton met Tom Hateley's inswinging free-kick but headed just wide and Randolph pulled off a brilliant one-handed save to deny Maloney from close range following James Forrest's cross.
Randolph made another impressive save to tip over Murphy's deflected effort and the former Charlton keeper then held Forrest's 20-yard drive. Maloney was at the heart of Celtic's threat after moving inside. His clever pass set up Murphy, who shot wide from a tight angle and the former Aston Villa player shot inches wide of the far post following Paddy McCourt's run.
Maloney then won the penalty as the Motherwell defence were caught square just inside their own half following Randolph's goal kick as the forward burst clear on to Daniel Majstorovic's defensive header.
Saunders led the chase but got too close and Maloney went down before Dougie McDonald pointed to the spot and showed the defender a straight red card to add to the yellow he had received in the first half for catching Samaras late. Murphy sent Randolph the wrong way to find the top corner and Celtic held out comfortably while threatening to add a second.
McCourt came close on several occasions as the Motherwell defence backed off and also set up Murphy, who finished poorly from inside the box.