Football: Celtic stifled

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The Independent Online
Celtic. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

Motherwell. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

Arnott 9

Attendance: 36,195

CELTIC returned home for the first time since the recent boardroom coup with a big crowd waiting to welcome the players and the new owner, Fergus McCann, who made a confusing entry.

As the fans roared their approval, McCann appeared on the track looking lost and it was some time before this slightly built millionaire, who now controls one of Britain's most famous clubs, was recognised. Eventually he took a bow and then the players, or to be precise those wearing Motherwell's claret and amber, took over.

The first half was memorable only for the touch and vision of Motherwell's midfield players, who seized control and engineered several scoring opportunities, one of which was taken in determined fashion by Dougie Arnott. He was sent clear through the heart of Celtic's defence by Jamie Dolan's sweet pass and although Carl Muggleton almost blocked Arnott's progress, the striker did well to stay upright and prod the ball into the unguarded net.

Celtic's supporters were stunned into silence. It was not supposed to be like this, but in their desire to welcome the new regime to the ground they had overlooked the presence of the opposition.

The Lanarkshire club, who still harbour notions of overtaking Rangers and winning the Premier Division, were in no mood to stand aside and watch Celtic celebrate. Indeed, it was Motherwell's intention to prove that while the boardroom personnel may have changed, Celtic's team remain the same indecisive and mediocre unit.

Celtic made tactical changes in the second half and they pushed forward more often, but Motherwell's defence was solid with Miodrag Krivokapic and Brian Martin expecially strong in their tackling and confident in their use of the ball.