Celtic 0 Motherwell 1: Strachan takes no comfort from McDonald apology

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The Independent Online

Gordon Strachan, the Celtic manager, received an apology from Scott McDonald after the Australia striker threw a tantrum during Saturday's home defeat by Motherwell which all but ended his side's title hopes.

As the reigning champions trailed to a first-half goal by Simon Lappin, boos rang around Celtic Park on the hour mark as McDonald, the side's leading scorer, was substituted and replaced by Georgios Samaras. The striker fumed in the dugout while watching Celtic fail to equalise against the Fir Park side, who had been reduced to 10 men just after the break when Bob Malcolm was sent off for a lunge at Massimo Donati.

"There are more important things than Scott's reaction but he has apologised to me and his team-mates and that says it all," Strachan said. "He knows he was in the wrong, so he has apologised, but it is a small thing in comparison to getting beaten by Motherwell when you are wanting to win the championship."

The defeat leaves Strachan's side six points behind leaders Rangers and the Ibrox side have two games in hand. "I said we couldn't afford to lose any more points but my opinion has been wrong on a couple of things, as has been pointed out now and then," Strachan said.

Goals: Lappin (33) 1-0.

Celtic (4-4-2): Boruc; Hinkel (Hutchinson, 87), Caldwell, McManus, Naylor; Nakamura, Scott Brown, Donati (Robson, 69), McGeady; McDonald (Samaras, 60), Vennegoor of Hesselink. Substitutes not used: M Brown, Wilson, Sno, Hartley.

Motherwell (4-4-2): Graeme Smith; Quinn (Brian McLean, 86), Reynolds, Craigan, Hammell; Fitzpatrick, Malcolm, Hughes, Lappin; Porter, McCormack (Murphy, 77). Substitutes not used: Daniels, Lasley, McGarry, D Smith, Archdeacon.

Referee: C Murray (Scotland).

Booked: Motherwell Porter, Graeme Smith.

Sent off: Motherwell Malcolm (46).

Attendance: 58,624.

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