Thompson quickly made amends for his error by levelling with a shot from Scott Brown's headed knockdown.
The teenage defender then powered in a header from Lee Naylor's corner to seal a hard-earned victory.
Celtic interim manager Neil Lennon recalled Mark Wilson, Niall McGinn and Diomansy Kamara as he sought a reaction to the shock Scottish Cup semi-final defeat from Ross County at the weekend.
And a sparsely attended Celtic Park watched their team respond well to going behind in what was an entertaining second half, although the victory owed much to two good saves from home keeper Lukasz Zaluska.
On 10 minutes, McGinn charged down a Steve Jennings clearance and scurried forward to deliver a powerful cross for Robbie Keane. The Irish striker was well placed in front of goal but the ball was slightly behind him and he could not make a clean connection with his head.
Motherwell were packing numbers behind the ball but managed to string a few nice passing sequences together and Jennings saw his drilled shot from 20 yards blocked by a stretching Darren O'Dea after some neat build-up play.
Celtic saw a lot of the ball in an open first half but seldom troubled goalkeeper Michael Fraser, who was deputising for the injured John Ruddy.
Instead it was Zaluska who was called into action just shy of the half hour mark.
The Polish international had to get down smartly to stop a strike from Jamie Murphy and skipper Brown slid in to make it impossible for Lukas Jutkiewicz to turn in the loose ball.
McGinn, making his first appearance since January, embarked on a positive surge through the middle of the park only to sail a shot high over the crossbar.
Jutkiewicz then found himself in room behind the home defence but Zaluska came haring out to make a good save with his outstretched foot.
With the interval looming, Keane dragged an angled first-time strike wide and Aiden McGeady did well to cut in from left flank but his curling shot was comfortably gathered by Fraser.
Four minutes after the restart Motherwell were in front when Thompson conceded a free kick and the same player could only divert the delivery from Hateley into the path of Reynolds, who stabbed his shot in from six yards.
The home fans had barely started to register their discontent when Celtic levelled and it was Thompson who atoned for his mistakes.
Brown got his head to a McGinn corner kick and the teenage centre-half swept a first-time effort through a ruck of bodies.
McGeady drove a 20-yard shot just too high after an enterprising run and Fraser did well to narrow the angle and block a stinging strike from Keane as Celtic suddenly burst into life.
The Motherwell keeper then flapped at a cross, allowing Kamara a sight of goal but substitute Steven Saunders did well to clear with his chest.
With 15 minutes remaining, Zaluska made a fine stop to keep out a close range header from John Sutton after the Motherwell forward had connected with a fantastic whipped cross from Jim O'Brien.
Thompson claimed his second goal soon after, towering highest in a congested penalty box to head home direct from Lee Naylor's corner.
Keane smacked a volley narrowly wide as he latched on to a headed flick from replacement Marc-Antoine Fortune before Zaluska made another important intervention, racing out to deny Murphy on the edge of the penalty box.
Live text and stats
Tuesday, 13 April 2010
Home Team Score Away Team Time Celtic 2-1 Motherwell FT (HT 0-0) Thompson 50 Thompson 78 Reynolds 49 Celtic 24 Zaluska 03 Naylor yellow card 12 Wilson 38 Thompson 48 O'Dea 06 N'Guemo 08 Brown 14 McGinn (Fortune 76) 46 McGeady 07 Keane 15 Kamara Substitutes 01 Boruc, 21 Braafheid, 52 Caddis, 17 Crosas, 10 Fortune, 19 Rasmussen, 55 McGowan Motherwell 01 Fraser 03 Hammell 04 Reynolds 05 Craigan (Saunders 56) 08 Jennings 14 Lasley (Coke 11 yellow card) 24 Hateley 09 Jutkiewicz (Humphrey 81) 11 Sutton 15 Murphy 17 O'Brien yellow card Substitutes 36 Hylsop, 43 Saunders, 06 Coke, 07 Humphrey, 12 Smith, 27 Forbes, 35 McHugh Ref: BrinesAtt: 27,750 CELTIC MOTHERWELL Possession Celtic 51% Motherwell 49% Attempts on target Celtic 8 Motherwell 5 Attempts off target Celtic 7 Motherwell 2 Corners Celtic 7 Motherwell 2 Fouls Celtic 14 Motherwell 8 Final Result Full Time 90:00+2:15 The final whistle goes and the game is over. 87:00 Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Diomansy Kamara, save by Michael Fraser. 85:25 Direct effort from the free kick comes in from Lee Naylor, save by Michael Fraser. 85:25 Booking Giles Coke is shown a yellow card. 85:18 Free kick awarded for a foul by Giles Coke on Landry N'Guemo. 83:56 Aiden McGeady takes a shot. Steven Saunders gets a block in. 82:42 Scott Brown fouled by Giles Coke, the ref awards a free kick. Lee Naylor delivers the ball from the free kick left-footed from left channel. 81:51 Stevie Hammell gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Mark Wilson. Free kick crossed right-footed by Diomansy Kamara from right wing. 80:23 Substitution Chris Humphrey joins the action as a substitute, replacing Lukas Jutkiewicz. 80:13 Robbie Keane produces a right-footed shot from just outside the box that misses to the right of the target. 77:03 Lee Naylor provided the assist for the goal. 77:03 GOAL - Josh Thompson:Celtic 2 - 1 Motherwell Josh Thompson scores a headed goal from inside the penalty area. Celtic 2-1 Motherwell. 76:33 Corner taken left-footed by Lee Naylor from the right by-line, 75:19 Substitution Marc-Antoine Fortune comes on in place of Niall McGinn. 74:21 Foul by Landry N'Guemo on Giles Coke, free kick awarded. Strike on goal comes in from Tom Hateley from the free kick. 74:05 Jim O'Brien produces a cross, John Sutton takes a shot. Lukasz Zaluska makes a brilliant save. 72:15 Long range effort from Darren O'Dea misses to the left of the target. 71:18 Unfair challenge on John Sutton by Scott Brown results in a free kick. Stevie Hammell takes the direct free kick. 70:59 Foul by John Sutton on Mark Wilson, free kick awarded. Mark Wilson restarts play with the free kick. 69:49 Corner taken right-footed by Niall McGinn, Josh Thompson has a headed effort at goal from close in which goes wide right of the goal. 68:29 Giles Coke gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Landry N'Guemo. Lee Naylor takes the direct free kick. 67:49 Diomansy Kamara is ruled offside. Michael Fraser restarts play with the free kick. 66:51 Corner taken by Niall McGinn from the left by-line, clearance by Mark Reynolds. 65:13 Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Tom Hateley played to the near post. 64:06 Shot from just outside the box by Jamie Murphy misses to the right of the goal. 60:34 Inswinging corner taken by Niall McGinn from the left by-line, clearance made by Steven Saunders. 60:21 Diomansy Kamara has an effort at goal. Stevie Hammell makes a clearance. 60:07 Robbie Keane takes a shot. Save by Michael Fraser. 59:36 Corner taken short by Tom Hateley. 55:16 Substitution Steven Saunders comes on in place of Stephen Craigan. 52:49 Landry N'Guemo challenges Jim O'Brien unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Jim O'Brien. 52:06 Shot from just outside the box by Aiden McGeady goes over the bar. 50:47 Foul by Mark Wilson on Jamie Murphy, free kick awarded. Free kick crossed by Stevie Hammell, save by Lukasz Zaluska. 49:44 Scott Brown provided the assist for the goal. 49:44 GOAL - Josh Thompson:Celtic 1 - 1 Motherwell Josh Thompson gets on the score sheet with a goal from deep inside the penalty box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Celtic 1-1 Motherwell. 49:17 Corner taken right-footed by Niall McGinn. 48:02 Tom Hateley provided the assist for the goal. 48:02 GOAL - Mark Reynolds:Celtic 0 - 1 Motherwell Mark Reynolds grabs a goal from deep inside the penalty box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Celtic 0-1 Motherwell. 47:26 Unfair challenge on Giles Coke by Landry N'Guemo results in a free kick. The ball is delivered by Tom Hateley, 45:30 Jamie Murphy is ruled offside. Indirect free kick taken by Lukasz Zaluska. 45:01 The second half begins. Half Time 45:00+0:23 The first half comes to an end. 41:25 Shot by Aiden McGeady. Michael Fraser makes a save. 39:26 Tom Hateley crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed from right wing, clearance by Josh Thompson. 39:26 Booking Lee Naylor goes into the book. 39:20 Free kick awarded for a foul by Lee Naylor on Jim O'Brien. Correction - 37:39 Shot by Robbie Keane from deep inside the penalty area misses wide to the left of the target. 37:39 Robbie Keane produces a right-footed shot from deep inside the area which goes wide of the left-hand post. 35:47 Free kick awarded for a foul by Lee Naylor on Lukas Jutkiewicz. Free kick taken by Tom Hateley. 35:05 Robbie Keane takes a shot. Steve Jennings gets a block in. 33:17 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Giles Coke by Scott Brown. Michael Fraser takes the direct free kick. 32:06 Lukas Jutkiewicz takes a shot. Save by Lukasz Zaluska. 31:20 The assistant referee signals for offside against Lukas Jutkiewicz. Lukasz Zaluska takes the indirect free kick. 29:58 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jim O'Brien by Diomansy Kamara. Direct free kick taken by Giles Coke. 29:44 Unfair challenge on Jim O'Brien by Diomansy Kamara results in a free kick. Stevie Hammell takes the free kick. 28:43 Niall McGinn has an effort at goal from outside the penalty box which goes wide right of the target. 27:28 Shot from 20 yards from Jamie Murphy. Save by Lukasz Zaluska. 26:52 Scott Brown fouled by John Sutton, the ref awards a free kick. Mark Wilson restarts play with the free kick. 24:08 Foul by Darren O'Dea on Lukas Jutkiewicz, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Tom Hateley. 21:32 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Lukas Jutkiewicz by Darren O'Dea. Stephen Craigan restarts play with the free kick. 20:52 Unfair challenge on Lukas Jutkiewicz by Josh Thompson results in a free kick. Stevie Hammell takes the direct free kick. 16:13 Mark Reynolds challenges Robbie Keane unfairly and gives away a free kick. Diomansy Kamara produces a shot on goal direct from the free kick. 13:14 Lukasz Zaluska takes the direct free kick. 13:14 Booking Jim O'Brien receives a yellow card. 13:00 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Scott Brown by Jim O'Brien. 12:51 Steve Jennings takes the chance to get an effort at goal. Darren O'Dea gets a block in. Correction - 10:23 Corner taken by Niall McGinn from the left by-line, clearance by Stephen Craigan. Correction - 10:23 Substitution Keith Lasley goes off and Giles Coke comes on. 10:23 Corner taken by Niall McGinn from the left by-line. 10:23 Substitution Giles Coke on for Keith Lasley. 5:08 Diomansy Kamara gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Steve Jennings. Stevie Hammell takes the direct free kick. 0:00 The ref blows the whistle to start the match. Live text and data provided by The Press Association.