Digital Football Journalist @ronnabe
Motherwell 2-5 Celtic: Leigh Griffiths nets on first league start of 2019 in rout
Odsonne Edouard, James Forrest and Kristoffer Ajer also on target
Last Updated: 11/08/19 8:30pm
Leigh Griffiths marked his first league start of 2019 with a goal as Celtic came from behind to thrash Motherwell 5-2 at Fir Park.
Motherwell briefly stunned the Scottish Premiership champions when Liam Donnelly's turn and shot beat Scott Bain at his near post 12 minutes in.
But just a minute and 49 seconds later Celtic were level, with Kristoffer Ajer's run from the back untracked before he was slipped in by James Forrest to slot past Mark Gillespie.
Griffiths smashed in a low free-kick just before half-time as the Bhoys improved but after half-time they stepped up their level, and put the game beyond Motherwell when Forrest held off a challenge to find the bottom corner (66).
They added insult to injury when substitute Odsonne Edouard fired in from the edge of the box (76) before a foul on him allowed Ryan Christie to add a fifth from the spot (86). In added time Donnelly netted his second from close-range but Celtic's second convincing win from two was already long secured.
Motherwell: Gillespie (5), Grimshaw (5), Gallagher (6), Dunne (4), Tait (6), Donnelly (8), Campbell (7), Polworth (7), Long (6), Seedorf (6), Hylton (6).
Subs: Ilic (5), Cole (6), Scott (5).
Celtic: Bain (5), Ajer (8), Jullien (5), Bitton (5), Bolingoli (6), Morgan (6), Brown (7), McGregor (7), Ntcham (8), Forrest (7), Griffiths (7).
Subs: Edouard (7), Christie (7), Sinclair (6).
Man of the match: Olivier Ntcham
How Celtic secured comeback win
Motherwell's fine home record in 2019 served as the perfect tonic to any nerves for the visit of Celtic, and it was little surprise when Declan Gallagher's knockdown was powered home by Donnelly after their energetic start, enjoying almost 70 per cent of the ball in the opening 15 minutes.
But a brief moment of confusion between defenders Charles Dunne and Richard Tait allowed Ajer to ghost in before he was spotted by Forrest, to end Motherwell's run of five clean sheets from their five previous games this season.
Motherwell were without Jake Carroll who began a two-game suspension, and brought in Chris Long and Sherwin Seedorf in attack.Celtic made four changes from their draw with Cluj in midweek, ahead of the second leg at Celtic Park on Tuesday.
Motherwell's energetic pressing game stifled Celtic's midfield for much of the rest of the half but they had begun to wrestle back control of the game by the time Griffiths fired them in front from a low free-kick.
A different Motherwell emerged after half-time, lacking the spark and vigour of the first 45 but Celtic didn't look like adding to their lead until they did grab a third. After a one-two on the left Bolingoli found Forrest on the left of the box, and he spotted a gap to curl into the bottom corner.
Celtic rested a number of their big names ahead of Tuesday's Champions League qualifier but gave them a run-out late on, with Edouard chipping in with a goal from the edge of the box.
He played a part in Celtic's fifth too when he was brought down by Dunne in the box, allowing Christie to fire into the top corner from the spot, before Motherwell's misery was lifted at the death when Devante Cole's volley from a corner struck Connelly, who controlled and fired in a last-minute consolation.
Man of the match - Olivier Ntcham
Ntcham has had his critics at times in a Celtic shirt but with more performances like today he can win over any doubters over his commitment.
His passing was a joy to watch and he was always looking forward, making chances for others and on another day, should have had a couple of assists.
Celtic host Cluj in Champions League qualifying on Tuesday with the tie finely balanced at 1-1, while Motherwell host Hearts on Friday at 7.45pm.