The intervention came at that time when Celtic were becoming a little desperate, a little uncertain that all they had revealed of themselves was not going to be enough. With the game tied at 2-2, and with only 12 minutes left, Tony Mowbray sent on Marc-Antoine Fortuné, a striker who had established only a sense of doubt in his time at the club.
A minute later, he played a one-two with Scott McDonald and then lashed a shot from 20 yards out that seemed to carry the weight of all his frustrations. The diving Motherwell goalkeeper, John Ruddy, could only help the ball into the top corner and a game that had become a great test for Mowbray's side was settled.
Celtic had been immediately vital, performing with a profound belief in the opening 15 minutes, so much so that Georgios Samaras had already hit the bar before he opened the scoring. The Greek striker span away from Motherwell's defenders before surging into the box and firing past Ruddy. Aiden McGeady then saw a shot tipped over.
Yet the home side refused to be cowed and their response was shaped by a weight of purpose. From Robert McHugh's cross, Lukas Jutkiewicz turned the ball beyond the sluggish Artur Boruc at the near post. And then, on the cusp of half-time, Mark Reynolds appeared at the back post to steer Tom Hateley's free-kick into the net.
Having shown such spirit and strength of mind to revive their fortunes, perhaps a little weariness might have been expected in the home side. Certainly, Motherwell were reserved after the break, as the visitors sought to reassert themselves. The equaliser came only seven minutes later, when McGeady cut a left-foot shot into the far corner of the net.
Following Steven Saunders' push on Samaras inside the box, Barry Robson saw his penalty saved by Ruddy. But then, with this domineering attitude, there was an inevitability to the visitors' eventual winner. "It's been hard for Marc-Antoine, but he's a quality footballer,' said the Celtic manager, Mowbray. "Hopefully that will give him a lift and the team will benefit."Reuse content