Celtic beat Motherwell with injury-time winner amid late drama at Fir Park

The champions extend their lead at the top of the table with victory in North Lanarkshire,

Celtic beat Motherwell with injury-time winner amid late drama at Fir Park SNS Group

Celtic have scored a 97th winner to beat Motherwell amid late drama at Fir Park.

Luis Palma put the league leaders ahead with only three minutes to go before Blair Spittal equalised four minutes into injury time.

But just as it looked like the points would be shared, Matt O’Riley put the Hoops ahead again in dramatic fashion to win the game.

Celtic are now five points ahead of second placed St Mirren, who play Kilmarnock at 3pm, and seven ahead of third placed Rangers who play Aberdeen at Ibrox.

Brendan Rodgers side can now look ahead to midweek when the play Lazio in the Champions League at Parkhead.

The Steelmen competed well throughout the game and limited Celtic to few chances while also creating a few for themselves.

But the Scottish champions kept going right to the end and extended their lead at the top of the table.

The game had been on a knife edge throughout and Scott Bain, deputising for the suspended Joe Hart, made two good saves while the game was goalless.

Celtic had the bulk of the early possession but the only chances in the first quarter came from set-pieces. Spittal came close with an overhead kick and Liam Scales headed wide at the other end.

Motherwell were looking solid and Kyogo Furuhashi curled wide from 22 yards when Celtic did manage to pass the ball through the lines.

The home side had the best chance of the half when Spittal’s quick free-kick found Harry Paton’s run. Bain came out to block Paton’s shot with his foot and Celtic cleared the midfielder’s driven cross on the rebound.

Liam Kelly made his only save of the first half from O’Riley after quick feet from Yang Hyun-jun before Spittal got Motherwell in behind again. However, Brodie Spencer could not find a final ball to capitalise.

James Forrest replaced Yang at half-time and he looked lively as Celtic began to show more urgency in the final third. Taylor and Gustaf Lagerbielke could not make the most of half chances.

Motherwell raised their own tempo in possession and had the ball in the net after Bevis Mugabi challenged Bain at a high ball. Stephen O’Donnell hit the ball off Mugabi on the lone before knocking home the rebound and the offside flag went up.

Mugabi’s challenge might have been penalised anyway if the wing-back had netted first time.

Taylor created Celtic’s best chance so far when he won the ball on the edge of the box and set up Daizen Maeda but the Japanese attacker shot over with only Kelly to beat.

Motherwell responded and Theo Bair volleyed straight at Bain before the goalkeeper’s feet again came to Celtic’s rescue when he blocked Spittal’s effort following Callum Slattery’s through ball.

The home side looked tired as the game entered the final 10 minutes and Kelly saved Forrest’s header after Palma’s cross.

Palma, who was brought on as a late sub for Maeda, fired in the opener past Liam Kelly on the 87th minute.

The Honduras international curled just inside the far post from outside the box as the ball whipped in between defender Dan Casey and Kelly.

Fans spilled on to the track from behind the goal in the Tommy McLean Stand.

Spittal then fired a shot past Bain up the other end on the 94th minute.

Dozens of Motherwell fans were suddenly on the pitch and they were barely back in their seats when the visitors were back in front.

O’Riley, who recently signed a new deal at Celtic, slotted home the winner after good work from Greg Taylor on the left in the dying minutes of the game.

Fans were on the pitch after each of the late goals and missiles flew between the two sets of supporters after O’Riley’s winner.

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