Beattie is perfect understudy

Motherwell 1 Celtic 1
Click to follow
The Independent Football

Craig Beattie dutifully played the role as Chris Sutton's understudy at Fir Park last night, carrying on where his mentor left off at the weekend with the final word.

Craig Beattie dutifully played the role as Chris Sutton's understudy at Fir Park last night, carrying on where his mentor left off at the weekend with the final word.

The young Celtic striker's equaliser may not have been as late or as spectacular as Sutton's against Rangers but the 78th-minute header protected the champions' unbeaten away record as the season draws to an end after David Clarkson's 12th goal of the campaign had hinted at an upset.

Celtic underlined that the Scottish Cup final is now the most important thing on their agenda by leaving out eight of the team that beat Rangers at the weekend. That allowed the teenagers Aiden McGeady and Beattie to take the roles normally occupied by Henrik Larsson and Sutton.

Beattie almost put Celtic in front after just eight minutes when he beat the offside trap but Barry-John Corr, the Motherwell goalkeeper, raced out of the box to make a valuable clearance from the striker's toes.

Corr had spent six years at Celtic but the queue of keepers in front of him had forced him to seek a fresh stage.

Motherwell had the ball in the net 10 minutes later when Steven Craigan's cross was flicked on by David Clarkson and finished off by Scott McDonald but the little striker's goal was chalked off because of offside.

That allowed Celtic to come back into the game. Ross Wallace was proving a real thorn in their side and the teenage winger's crosses were almost finished off by McGeady and Jamie Smith but no one was capable of breaking the deadlock before half-time.

The contest boiled over 10 minutes into the second half after Liam Miller's dreadful tackle on Martyn Corrigan that led to a series of biting challenges.

However, the home side took the lead in the 63rd minute when Shaun Fagan's pass opened up Celtic, finding Alex Burns who picked out the run of David Clarkson and the teenage striker swept his shot past Marshall.

Celtic's pride was hurt and they hit back with an impressive period of pressure. McGeady ought to have equalised when Wallace's fine cross was headed into his path by Beattie but the young striker's volley flew over the bar.

However, Celtic restored parity with 12 minutes left. Wallace's corner was met by Beattie and his glancing header beat Corr.

Motherwell (4-4-2): Corr; Quinn, Corrigan, Craigan, Hammell; Fagan (Fitzpatrick, 69), Lasley, Burns, Dair; S McDonald (Wright, 84), Clarkson (K MacDonald, 86). Substitutes not used: Reid, Higgins.

Celtic (3-5-2): Marshall; Mjallby, Lennon, McManus; Smith, Lambert, Miller, Pearson, Wallace; Beattie, McGeady. Substitutes not used: Douglas, McNamara, Baldé, Varga, McBride.

Referee: J Rowbotham.

Comments