Tom Rogic was Celtic’s hero as the Premiership leaders ran riot against shell-shocked Motherwell at Fir Park this afternoon.
Ange Postecoglou’s side were 3-0 up and cruising at the interval, thanks to the Australian’s double, following Liel Abada’s classy opener.
That was added to in the second half by a fourth from Daizen Maeda.
It was thoroughly deserved too, against a Motherwell side that offered very little in self-defence.
Celtic’s first-half trio of goals had come after a fairly inauspicious start from the Glasgow giants, with lots of neat, intricate passes, but very little end product.
But a quick-fire double midway through the half put Motherwell to the sword and settled the game in Celtic’s favour, with a killer third scored right on half-time.
The visitors took the lead in 28 minutes through Liel Abada and doubled that three minutes later thanks to Tom Rogic’s outstanding strike, with the Australian bagging his second just before the break.
While Motherwell tried to get themselves back into the game in the second half it was played at a much less frantic pace, though to be fair Celtic were pretty much home and dry by that point.
But Daizen Maeda added a fourth and Celtic searched relentlessly for a fifth.
Motherwell boss Graham Alexander made one change from the 1-1 draw with St Mirren on Tuesday, with Dean Cornelius coming in for ineligible Liam Shaw, due to his loan from today’s opponents.
Ange Postecoglou made three changes from the Celtic side that racked up an emphatic 3-0 win over rivals Rangers on Wednesday.
Rogic, Anthony Ralston and Daizen Maeda come in for Josep Juranovic, Matt O’Riley and Jota.
Celtic started well, and Abada forced a good save from Liam Kelly inside the opening minute, before Bevis Mugabi thumped an Abada cross inches past his own left post.
Carl Starfelt gave Celtic a scare at the other end with a wayward pass-back while Kevin Van Veen was lurking, but they managed to clear comfortably enough.
Celtic were trying to play some nice, intricate stuff, but there wasn’t really an end product.
Hatate did pick out Rogic, but his low shot from distance lacked conviction and drifted past the left post in 21 minutes.
That let Motherwell back into the game and in 24 minutes Callum Slattery’s cross from the right was nipped off the head of Van Veen when he looked odds-on to score.
Celtic should have made the breakthrough in 27 minutes when Abada found Giorgos Giakoumakis in the box, but his low angled shot was well blocked.
However, Abada drilled in Hatate’s cross to give Celtic the lead in 28 minutes, and they had doubled that three minutes later when Abada and Hatate linked well to set up Rogic, who arced an unstoppable shot into the top left corner.
Celtic had the ball in the net a third time in 44 minutes, but Abada was correctly flagged offside.
Motherwell had a chance of their own just ahead of half-time but Sean Goss could only find the side-net.
Rogic grabbed his second and Celtic’s third on the stroke of half-time when Ralston sent Abada down the right and his cut-back was slammed high into the net by Rogic.
Both sides made a number of changes at half-time, with Motherwell throwing on Kaiyne Woolery, Joe Efford and Ross Tierney for Jake Carroll, Sean Goss and Van Veen.
Perhaps sensing it was ‘job done’, Celtic withdrew Hatate and Abada, in favor of Nir Bitton and James Forrest.
Sub Efford’s deflected shot forced a fine diving save from Joe Hart in 51 minutes as Motherwell tried to force their way into the game.
But Celtic should have bagged a fourth in 54 minutes when Giakoumakis raced down the right and found Rogic, who in turn picked out Bitton, but his shot was well over.
Jota had a shot well blocked by Kelly in 68 minutes as Celtic tried to turn the screw.
Maeda added Celtic’s fourth in 71 minutes; after being sent through on goal it looked like Kelly had blocked his shot, only for it to spin over him and into the net.
Rogic hit the right post with a shot and Josep Juranovic sent a free kick off the right side-netting, but Celtic had to be content with four.
MOTHERWELL: Kelly, O’Donnell, Solholm (Nirennold, 81), Mugabi, Carroll (Tierney, 46), McGinley, Goss (Efford, 46), Donnelly, Cornelius, Slattery (Grimshaw, 81), Van Veen (Woolery, 46 ).
Subs (not used): Fox (GK), Hopefully, Amaluzor, Roberts.
Booked: McGinley (40), Mugabi (83), Donnelly (86)
CELTIC: Hart, Ralston, Carter-Vickers, Starfelt, Taylor (Juranovic, 80), McGregor (O’Riley, 62), Hatate (Forrest, 46), Abada (Bitton, 46), Rogic, Maeda, Giakoumakis (Jota, 62).
Subs (not used): Bain (GK), McCarthy, Johnston, Welsh.
Booked: Giakoumakis (59)
Referee: John Beaton.
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