Soccer

Adam Idah to the rescue for Celtic as double seals late win over Motherwell

The visitors came from behind to close the gap on Rangers.

Celtic’s Adam Idah celebrates his second goal .
Celtic’s Adam Idah celebrates his second goal Celtic’s Adam Idah celebrates his second goal . (Steve Welsh/PA)

Adam Idah came off the bench to hit a double as Celtic came from behind to win another close contest with Motherwell in stoppage time.

Celtic were in serious danger of losing more ground in the cinch Premiership title race after Blair Spittal scored a wonderful goal to give Motherwell a deserved half-time lead at Fir Park.

But Idah headed Celtic level within five minutes of the restart and struck in the third minute of added time as the champions turned the tide in the latter stages of the game.

Fellow substitute Luis Palma made it 3-1 as Celtic cut the gap on leaders Rangers back to two points.

Rangers had piled the pressure on with a 5-0 victory over in-form Hearts on Saturday after Celtic lost top spot following two draws in their previous three league matches.

They knew they would likely face a tough encounter against a Motherwell who have drawn twice at Parkhead in the past year and ran Brendan Rodgers’ side close at Fir Park earlier this season, when Matt O’Riley netted a winner in the seventh minute of time added on.

Spittal was back from injury as Harry Paton missed out, while Celtic had Alistair Johnston and Tomoki Iwata making comebacks, the latter’s selection allowing Callum McGregor to play further forward.

Greg Taylor saw an early shot held by Motherwell captain Liam Kelly, but it was the visiting defence which looked vulnerable in the opening stages.

Lennon Miller got both Theo Bair and Jack Vale in behind with a quick pass on separate occasions. Bair finished brilliantly but was flagged offside and Vale could not get a shot away, turning inside and outside Mark Nawrocki before the defender recovered.

Vale soon forced a diving save from Joe Hart after slack play from Celtic and Motherwell cut open their visitors with an excellent one-touch move which ended with Georgie Gent slicing wide.

Celtic only carved out one real first-half chance, when McGregor’s through-ball found Kyogo Furuhashi, but Kelly came out to block with his feet.

Motherwell remained a threat though and their opener was a thing of beauty. Miller swivelled his way past McGregor with a tremendous piece of skill and set up Spittal to curl the ball out of Hart’s reach from 22 yards.

Idah came on for Furuhashi, who appeared to hurt his troublesome shoulder late in the first half. The Irishman made an instant impact, getting a run on Dan Casey to meet Taylor’s cross and power a header home from 12 yards.

The goal did not initially shift the momentum, though. Hart pulled off a brilliant stop from Miller’s header and Vale threatened twice, the second time when tackling the Celtic goalkeeper, who was relieved to see the ball go wide.

But the champions began to exert more pressure. Cameron Carter-Vickers came off the bench to add an assurance to the Celtic defence and fellow substitute Yang Hyun-jun was causing far more problems for the home team than the man he replaced, Nicolas Kuhn.

Liam Scales had a header saved, Daizen Maeda failed to get any of three chances on target and O’Riley saw a shot charged down by the Motherwell wall after Calum Butcher had hauled Idah to the ground after being turned on the edge of the box.

Willie Collum booked the Motherwell man and stuck to his decision despite being called to the monitor for a potential red-card review.

The pressure grow and Idah got ahead of his marker to convert Johnston’s low cross before Palma tapped home Yang’s ball across the face of goal.