Football: Celtic in thrall to O'Donnell: Motherwell ride tide of passion

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CELTIC suffered their third defeat of the new year, falling to a Phil O'Donnell double in a game that sucked the breath from players and fans alike.

With the clubs due to meet on cup business at the same venue on 29 January they could hardly have served up a better dress rehearsal last night. This was 90 minutes of Scottish passion and graft driven by a roaring crowd.

In a frantic first half which was played with a furious passion, the visitors created the first genuine chance in the 19th minutes when Tony Mowbray, connecting with a John Collins corner, forced Rab Shannon into a goal-line clearance.

Mowbray again went close after 36 minutes when he hit the bar with a header from another Collins corner and before the interval Charlie Nicholas shot against a post.

However, for all their efforts Celtic fell behind on the stroke of half-time when Doug Arnott drove forward to feed O'Donnell who beat Pat Bonner with a first-time drive.

Celtic restored some faith among their supporters with an early second-half equaliser, the defender Mark McNally scoring with a stunning 30- yard shot which flew into the net via the goalkeeper's left- hand post.

But Motherwell refused to buckle and O'Donnell again gave his side the lead, sweeping a glorious volley past Bonner from a Shannon cross.

Motherwell (4-4-2): Dykstra; Krivokapic, Philliben, McCart, McKinnon; Martin, Lambert, Shannon, O'Donnell; Coyne (McGrillen, 85), Arnott (Kirk, 74). Substitute not used: Thomson (gk).

Celtic (4-3-3): Bonner; McNally, Gillespie (Galloway, 68), Mowbray, Boyd; Grant, McStay, Collins; Byrne (Creaney, 81), Nicholas, O'Neil. Substitute not used: Muggleton (gk).

Referee: D Hope (Erskine).