Celtic’s ‘ruthless’ firepower blasts Motherwell away in 5-2 win — report

Celtic ran out emphatic winners at Motherwell taking their goals tally to 12 in two games, but they didn’t have it all their own way.

Motherwell took the lead in the 12th minute through Liam Donnelly, with Ajer hitting back two minutes later. And for a large part of the first half, Celtic looked a far cry from the team that demolished St Johnstone 7-0 last week.

The defence looked ropey at times and Celtic resorted to long balls far too often.

But when Celtic, perhaps sluggish on the back of a creditable draw in Romania in midweek, began to play the ball on the deck they started cutting Motherwell open.

Ajer started the match at right-back with midfielder Bitton partnering Jullien at centre-half. With no defenders on the bench, there wasn’t much room for error or injury.

It’s well documented that the defence needs strengthened as a priority, both with first-choice players and back-up options, and this game provided further evidence.

When Leigh Griffiths fired home a free-kick four minutes from half-time, Celtic never looked back.

With Tierney gone, the spotlight has been on Bolingoli as his replacement. It’s fair to say he’s taking his time to settle, but he’s industrious and committed and got his reward when he set up the third with a neat cutback for Forrest to coolly slot it away.

Celtic then began to turn on the style as a deflated Motherwell crumbled.

Substitute Edouard neatly finished off a good move from the back with a low shot into the bottom corner, although Motherwell fans were raging over a potential handball from Bolingoli in its early stages.

Eddie was involved again for the fifth, winning a penalty for fellow sub, Ryan Christie, to blast home.

Celtic could have added to their tally, but it was Motherwell who finished the scoring, with Donnelly getting his second after poor defending from a corner.

Lennon was rightly delighted with the “ruthless” attacking play, but was disappointed that the team had “invited trouble” at times.

Better teams than Motherwell may exploit that tendency with more than two goals. But Celtic fans will be happy that a wealth of attacking options means, domestically at least, outscoring teams looks likely to continue to be the order of the day.

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