Celtic hit Motherwell for seven in Ronny Deila's final game
CELTIC gave boss Ronny Deila a perfect parting gift with a remarkable 7-0 trouncing of Motherwell at Parkhead.
The Ladbrokes Premiership champions hit top form and began their rout in the 21st minute when 18-year-old left-back Kieran Tierney opened the scoring with his first for the club, before goals from midfielder Tom Rogic and stand-in skipper Mikael Lustig had the points secured by the interval.
Further strikes from Stuart Armstrong and Patrick Roberts at the start of the second-half put Celtic Park in party mode before Ryan Christie grabbed his first Hoops goal before the hour mark. There was another notable event as 16-year-old debutant substitute Jack Aitchison - the youngest player to play for the Hoops - made it seven with his first touch.
'Well boss Mark McGhee had lost 9-0 at Celtic Park in 2010 when manager of Aberdeen and he would have been relieved to see the home side ease up in the closing minutes of Deila's last game in charge before his departure.
The Norwegian was looking to finish his two-season tenure on a high and his side, wearing black armbands in tribute to former player Bobby Carroll who passed away last week at the age of 77, started at a good pace with efforts from Lustig and Rogic.
With 40-goal Leigh Griffiths suspended, Christie was handed the role of main striker and two early attempts from close range were blocked by Motherwell goalkeeper Connor Ripley, while Lustig had a header from a Roberts corner cleared off the line by Morgaro Gomis.
However, Ripley was eventually beaten after 20 minutes when Tierney picked up a Roberts pass and raced back along the edge of the penalty area before driving low into the corner. The second came when Armstrong burst into the box and knocked the ball past Ripley with Rogic happy to knock the ball into the empty net after it rebounded off the post.
In the 28th minute, Lustig headed in Armstrong's corner at the far post with Ripley flailing and the prospect of a mauling was already in the air. Christie should have made it four in the 41st minute when Ripley parried a Rogic shot into his path but he somehow lifted his effort over the crossbar from six yards with the goal gaping.
Celtic, however, were hell-bent on adding to their tally. Five minutes into the second-half, Armstrong swivelled just inside the Motherwell box and thrashed the ball high past Ripley. Roberts got in on the act when he curled one from 20 yards into the corner of the net before Christie got the goal he so desired with a clever finish after being set up by Rogic.
Under-siege Ripley saved from Roberts and Christie hit the post before Aitchison, who recently signed a new three-year deal, replaced Rogic to make his Hoops debut and two minutes later swept in number seven from 10 yards to give the Hoops fans even more to cheer.
Gomis drew a save from Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon with a decent drive from distance, but it was from an attack out of keeping with a one-sided match which allowed Deila to leave some good memories behind.
Celtic: Gordon, Tierney (Izaguirre 56), Sviatchenko, Ambrose, Lustig, McGregor, Johansen, Roberts, Rogic (Aitchison 75), Armstrong (Janko 84), Christie; Subs Not Used: Bitton, Allan, Bailly, Forrest; Goals: Tierney 21, Rogic 26, Lustig 28, Armstrong 50, Roberts 54, Christie 59, Aitchison 77.
Motherwell: Ripley, Johnson, McManus, Hall, Watt (Kennedy 46), Pearson, Gomis, Cadden, Ainsworth (Chalmers 46), McDonald, Moult; Subs Not Used: Laing, Samson, Jack Leitch, Thomas, Turnbull; Booked: Gomis.
Ref: E Anderson (Scotland).