Ex-Rangers keeper says Celtic were too good, but Motherwell move on to Tannadice test

Goalkeeper Liam Kelly says the quality of Celtic’s substitutes alone showed how far ahead they were as they beat his Motherwell side 4-0 on Sunday.

But the former Rangers shot-stopper says they just need to take their medicine and regroup for Wednesday’s Premiership test against Dundee United at Tannadice.

Kelly joked that he felt like going off the pitch himself on Sunday when he saw Nir Bitton, James Forrest, Jota, Matt O’Riley and Josep Juranovic thrown on in the second half.

By the time those first two were on the pitch, Celtic were already home and dry at 3-0 up, courtesy of Liel Abada’s 28th-minute opener, and a spectacular double from Tom Rogic. Daizen Maeda added a fourth in the second half to complete a miserable afternoon at Fir Park for fourth-placed Motherwell.

But there’s no doubt the former Livingston and Queen’s Park Rangers star kept the score down on the day.

Kelly said: “Celtic are capable of doing that to most teams. But you like to be in the game.

“You want to give a better account of yourself but the game was done at half-time, realistically.

“You have to try and stay in it for as long as you can. We tried to have a go but they punished us.

“They were too good for the press we tried to put on. We got caught in between most things.

Kelly was a busy keeper on Sunday as he tried to keep the score down
Kelly was a busy keeper on Sunday as he tried to keep the score down

“They have top players and they made us pay.

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“It’s not ideal when the players they have on the bench come on. You feel like going off yourself!

“They are a brilliant team with a lot of quality. You see the subs they bring on and they’ve still got some top players who are still injured and weren’t involved.

“It was a good day for them and a poor day for us. We just need to move on to Wednesday night.”

Kelly says free-scoring Celtic are a handful for most teams, let alone Motherwell, and reckons they were just on top form.

“We were up against a really good side who were probably a bit much for us,” he said.

“In the first half we tried to give it a go and they picked us apart.

Tom Rogic beat Kelly with a curling shot into the top corner for Celtic's second goal
Tom Rogic beat Kelly with a curling shot into the top corner for Celtic’s second goal

“I think Celtic were well deserved winners. We just need to take our medicine and focus on Wednesday night now.”

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Motherwell head to Tayside without a Premiership win in five games, and Kelly hopes they can quickly get back to winning ways.

He said: “It’s good that we’ve got a game so quickly. I’m enjoying this time just now when it’s game after game.

“We’re still in a strong position in fourth, although it’s getting quite tight in there.

“We’ve been the fourth-best team in the league up until now, so we want to try and stay there and make sure we are the fourth-best team come the end of the season.

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“That starts with another tough game on Wednesday night against a Dundee United team who will fancy their chances, as they beat us up there last time.”

The Steelmen will come up against their former striker Tony Watt, and Kelly is aware that he hasn’t netted yet for the Taysiders.

He said: “Tony is a top player. You saw that with us in the first half of the season.

Kelly says Celtic's quality was just too great, but was able to make some crucial saves
Kelly says Celtic’s quality was just too great, but was able to make some crucial saves

“Having watched the highlights of Dundee United’s games, he has been involved in a lot of the attacking play.

“That’s no surprise. I’m sure he goals will come for him but hopefully not on Wednesday night against us!”

When if the five-game winless streak is cause for concern, Kelly said: “You do want to stop asked that quickly. I think in a lot of the games we’ve could have won, although I’m not saying we should have won them.

“Not on Sunday, obviously, as Celtic were far and away the better side.

Celtic ran out comfortable winners in the end
Celtic ran out comfortable winners in the end

“But St Mirren during the week I felt we were the better team and we could have won it.

“But there’s no point in feeling sorry for ourselves. Every team below is would gladly swap places with us.

“We have to stay optimistic ahead of Wednesday’s game and try to take three points.

“We just need to park Sunday. Sometimes it happens that you get beaten by better players and a team.

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“That’s what happened. We accept that and move on and try to put it right on Wednesday.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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