Sport

Celtic back on top after win over Motherwell

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers watched his side comfortably beat Motherwell 3-0 to move back to the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership table
Ronnie Esplin

Ladbrokes Premiership: Celtic 3 Motherwell 0

BRENDAN Rodgers was left sweating on the fitness Odsonne Edouard after Celtic moved to the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership with a 3-0 home win over Motherwell.

The 20-year-old - Rodgers' only recognised striker - went off with an abductor problem after the Hoops had taken a two-goal lead in the first-half through Anthony Ralston, in his first outing of the season, and a Scott Sinclair penalty.

Edouard's replacement, 19-year-old Mikey Johnston, scored his first Celtic goal just before the interval to take the Parkhead side one point above Rangers, who drew 0-0 at Hibernian, and two above Kilmarnock.

Rodgers was left with a potential headache due to the injury to Edouard, with Dundee, Aberdeen and Rangers to come before the January transfer window opens.

The Northern Irishman said: "He felt it tight around his abductor, we will assess that in the next 24 hours.

"There's not a great deal you can do.

"It has been unfortunate with Odsonne, he has had to play a lot more games than I wanted him to play because of him being the only striker

"But we have other players that can fill in and we can always come up with a team that we think can get a result but hopefully he will be okay.

"It is getting to the end of an exhausting period for us but the players were bright when they had to be, scored two very good goals and a piece of skill to get us the penalty.

"In the second half we controlled the game and it was great to see the young players coming in and making a contribution.

"I thought Ralston was outstanding. Mikey finished off a really good move, it was great for the two young boys. It was a good night overall."

Rodgers revealed that skipper Scott Brown, making his 500th appearance for Celtic, was given a round of applause in the dressing room afterwards.

He said: "To have played 500 games for Celtic is a real testament to your professionalism, that perseverance and persistence to look after yourself and the actual quality to play.

"You see what he is now. He controls the game, him and Callum (McGregor) were very good in there ticking the game over and being aggressive when he had to be but he was fantastic."

Motherwell remain in ninth place and have St Mirren, Kilmarnock and Hamilton before the end of the year.

Boss Stephen Robinson said: "It was frustrating. We were good for 20 minutes or so, Celtic struggled to break us down.

"We weren't brave enough when we got on the ball, our midfield wasn't brave enough, but then Allan Campbell got on in the second half and was terrific. He showed no fear against his opponents.

"We were done by two individual errors. We don't go with the runner at the first and then go to ground in the tackle for the second.

"The third I have to say was a magnificent finish.

"We know have three big games coming up which will dictate whether we are looking up or down."

 

Ladbrokes Premiership: Hibernian 0 Rangers 0

RANGERS boss Steven Gerrard says he cannot blame his players for another two points dropped as he heaped credit on Hibernian's back-up goalkeeper Adam Bogdan.

The Ibrox side surrendered the Ladbrokes Premiership lead for the second time in a fortnight as they were held to a goalless draw by Neil Lennon's men at Easter Road.

Rangers dominated the capital clash but were frustrated by former Liverpool academy prospect Bogdan as they allowed Celtic to regain top spot.

The Bulgarian shot-stopper started on the bench but was introduced just 11 minutes into the game when Ofir Marciano limped off with a calf strain.

There were no signs of rustiness, though, as he pulled off two crucial stops to deny Alfredo Morelos.

Gers had more chances late in the second half but were unable to capitalise as their recent lack of ruthlessness returned to see them slip back behind the Hoops.

Gerrard said: "Sometimes you have to hold your hands up and say we've found a sub keeper tonight who has come on and bailed his team out on probably four or five occasions.

"You can't be too critical of players, we're creating chances, we're getting really good opportunities to score.

"The reason we were top of the league before the game was probably Alfredo and he's the one who had the chances tonight.

"So we are not critical. Neil Lennon said to me coming off that we were outstanding. As a manager I can't ask more of my players."

Gerrard and Bogdan's paths have crossed briefly before during the former's stint working as a Liverpool youth coach and the former Anfield skipper added: "He was certainly in form tonight and he's the reason why I'm not sitting here talking about an incredible win."

Gerrard had no complaints either with referee Craig Thompson's decision to turn down a late penalty appeal after the ball appeared to strike Hibs midfielder Mark Milligan high on the arm.

But he insisted home defender Ryan Porteous was lucky to only see yellow for a crude 79th-minute hack at Lassana Coulibaly.

He said: "The reality is that the ref was three yards away and that was a very, very dangerous tackle. In my book, in Neil's book, in anyone's book that was a dangerous tackle."

Lennon was looking for his side to build on their impressive win over Celtic on Sunday but admitted they were lucky to escape with a point.

"It was a great point in the end," he said. "I thought we rode our luck at times.

"Listen, I am delighted with the point. I think we can play better, but you have to give credit to Rangers as well. I thought they were very good."

On Porteous' tackle, the Northern Irishman said: "I haven't seen it again but it's an aspect of his game that doesn't please me.

"It's not the way we're coaching him. I don't mind a tackle but if you leave the ground you're asking for trouble."

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