Celtic 3-0 Motherwell: Lennon worried about Covid risk for internationals

30 August 2020 0 By Total Football News
Highlights: Celtic 3-0 Motherwell

Celtic manager Neil Lennon is concerned about the risk players face from Covid-19 on international duty, after his side beat Motherwell 3-0.

Goals from James Forrest, Albian Ajeti, and Christopher Jullien gave Celtic the perfect response to their midweek Champions League exit.

France and Iceland are among teams to be affected by positive tests as an international break begins.

"We're hoping the national camps are as watertight as ours," Lennon said..

"We've worked really hard to keep everyone healthy and safe and we don't want anyone coming back with the virus, that's for sure."

Victory against Motherwell moved Celtic six points behind leaders Rangers in the Premiership, having played two fewer games.

Another defeat means Motherwell are the only Premiership side without a win this season, and they prop up the table as a result.

Despite suggesting some of his players' focus lay elsewhere after Wednesday's Champions League exit against Ferencvaros, manager Neil Lennon picked the same side.

That meant Ryan Christie as the centre-forward in the absence of the injured Odsonne Edouard, with two more natural strikers in Ajeti and Patryk Klimala on the bench, with Lennon repeating pre-match that he does not consider either of them fit enough to start.

The decision yielded the same frustrating results as Celtic failed to register a single shot on target until the 39th minute, when Forrest arrowed the ball beyond Trevor Carson after Callum McGregor's superb run from his own half.

Klimala was introduced for Mohamed Elyounoussi at half-time and had a golden chance to make the desired impact, but he could not adjust his feet in time to tap home Greg Taylor's ball across the six-yard box.

The Polish striker later passed up another opportunity to make it 3-0 as he was denied by Carson once clean through.

Ajeti, despite having less time to make an impact, finished ruthlessly when presented with space in the box, as he controlled Kristoffer Ajer's pass before firing into the corner.

The game became stretched in the closing stages and Motherwell conceded a third when centre-back Jullien found space in the box and slid in a composed finish.

Man of the match - Callum McGregor

Even when Celtic were struggling in the first half, McGregor was the one who looked likely to create, and his surging run from his own half set up Forrest's opener

What did we learn?

Whether it was to prove a point, or to allow the same players to redeem themselves, Lennon's decision to pick the same team raised eyebrows, and the opening 39 minutes will not have done much to convince it was the right call.

Playing as the notional centre-forward, Christie was easily marshalled by Motherwell's impressive back three, and the fact he registered the most crosses in the first half is evidence that Celtic lacked a focal point in attack again.

Despite his poor finishing, Klimala did make an impact with his movement, and Ajeti's finish - his second goal from the bench this season - suggests he will play a major part once up to full fitness.

Jeremie Frimpong's impact off the bench was impressive, as it was on Wednesday, and also served to question his absence from the starting team.

Motherwell can be pleased with their defensive work for large periods, but as has been the case this season, lapses in concentration cost them.

The second and third goals came as manager Stephen Robinson had replaced centre-back Rickie Lamie with striker Jordan White in order to chase the game, but the first came from Stephen O'Donnell's slack pass. It undid all the good work of the first half, and left them with a difficult task.

What they said

Celtic manager Neil Lennon: "First-half was a little bit lukewarm. I didn't think we had the tempo I like the team to play at, but it was a great first goal. We wanted a little bit more zest in the second half and we got that."

Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson: "I thought we were really organised, disciplined in the first-half and frustrated them. I judge myself against teams like that and I'm desperate to get a result, but overall we won't be judged by games against Celtic and Rangers."

What's next?

After the international break Celtic travel to Dingwall to play Ross County, while Motherwell will try to get their first league win against St Johnstone at Fir Park.

This news item was provided by the BBC Sport - Football website - the original link is: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/53878257