Hooper fires Celtic to the top

Motherwell 0 Celtic 2

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The Independent Football

Celtic leapfrogged Motherwell to the top of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League in impressive style at Fir Park. In-form striker Gary Hooper opened the scoring in the 31st minute with a low drive before Well defender Adam Cummins put Scott Brown's cross past Darren Randolph and into his own net four minutes later. Cummins's, and Well's, woe was complete when he was sent off in the second-half

In the early stages Celtic were pushed back but it was Randolph who had to make the first real save of the game in the ninth minute from Hooper's close-range shot. The visitors, playing in a three o'clock kick-off away from home on a Saturday for the first time in seven years, took time to settle but soon Randolph had to parry Brown's low drive with Victor Wanyama failing to get the rebound on target.

Soon after, Hooper looked favourite to beat Randolph to Wanyama's through ball, but the Well keeper raced from his line to clear. However, Hooper was not to be denied and just after the half-hour mark, Kris Commons' pass was perfectly-flighted and the former Scunthorpe striker steered the ball past Randolph for his sixth goal in three games.

Four minutes later Cummins, in his bid to cut out Brown's cross from the left knocked the ball into his own net from six yards.

In the 54th minute Cummins was shown a straight red for bundling over Commons but Randolph parried Brown's penalty. It was all rather irrelevant. Celtic were relentless, and only Randolph's efforts prevented further damage.



"I thought we were brilliant today, from start to finish," Celtic manager Neil Lennon said. "That is the best we have played in my time here, as a player, coach or manager."

Certainly his men will travel to Russia tomorrow for their Champions' League Group G game against Spartak Moscow on Tuesday buoyed by the performance.

Motherwell Randolph; Hutchinson, Ramsden, Francis-Angol, Cummins, Law (Kerr, 64), Hateley, Humphrey (Daley, 67), Lasley, Higdon, Murphy (Ojamaa, 79).

Celtic Forster, Izaguirre, Ambrose, Wilson, Mulgrew, Lustig (Ledley, 79), Brown (Samaras, 67), Commons (Miku, 74), Forrest, Wanyama, Hooper.

Referee I Brines.