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Friday, 12 October, 2001, 17:09 GMT 18:09 UK
Celtic down unlucky Motherwell
Moravcik celebrates his opening goal
Moravcik celebrates his opening goal
Motherwell 1-2 Celtic

A late, controversial penalty award allowed Henrik Larsson to score the winning goal against a spirited Motherwell side.

Motherwell fell behind to a stunning Lubo Moravick free kick in the first quarter-of-an-hour but fought gamely throughout.

Their reward came in the shape of a Greg Strong equaliser midway through the second half.

But Larsson's late spot kick gave the champions a rather fortuitous victory.

The home side made a bright start to the match, enjoying the bulk of possession and creating one or two half-chances.

Petrov drives through the Motherwell defence
Petrov drives through the Motherwell defence
Henrik Larsson, though, ought to have tested Brown when he rose to meet Hartson's cross only to head over.

Stuart Elliott made good headway down the left and Steve Guppy had to be alert to clear his cutback.

The opening goal came in the 14th minute after Stilian Petrov was felled 30 yards from goal.

Lubomir Moravcik needed no second invitation to curl the free kick past Brown and in off the underside of the bar.

Larsson might have doubled the lead 10 minutes later after Hartson released him, but Brown saved well from the Swede.

Motherwell's clearest opportunity yet came just before the half-hour mark. Balde's clearing header fell invitingly for Keith Lasley but Douglas saved his bouncing shot.

Celtic won a free kick in an almost identical position to that from which they scored but this time Petrov's effort was well blocked.

Clever dummy

Hartson then flashed a header on goal but Brown held it comfortably.

Motherwell had a chance to level shortly before half-time after Douglas made a hash of an inswinging free kick, but Eddie Forrest shot wildly over.

The second half was three minutes old and Celtic should have added to their tally twice.

Moravcik went for goal from a free kick on the left and Brown had to react sharply to turn the ball over the bar. From the corner, Hartson headed wide.

Motherwell were by no means out of the game and Douglas had to dash from his line to block Stephen Pearson's run.

Douglas again came to Celtic's rescue a minute later, tipping Greg Strong's hitchkick over the bar.

Greg Strong is congratulated on his goal
Greg Strong is congratulated on his goal
Neither side were creating a great deal in the way of clear-cut chances but Motherwell continued to apply pressure without making much headway inside the Celtic box although they did have a claim for a penalty when Lennon and Lasley collided.

But that changed in the 68th minute when a corner was cleared only as far as Strong and his left foot shot, cleverly dummied by David Kelly, found its way past the outstretched arm of Douglas.

Play was largely confined to the middle third in the closing stages, though Bobo Balde came close with a late header.

But that was not the end of things - Henrik Larsson's cutback was cut out by Forrest, but as he attempted to follow up his clearance, Shaun Maloney, on as a substitute for Moravcik, nipped in front of him.

The youngster went down under Forrest's challenge although contact was minimal at best, but referee John Rowbotham pointed to the spot.

Larsson did not hang around to argue as he buried the penalty past Brown to seal the points.

Motherwell: Brown, Forrest, Ready, Strong, Nicholas, Lasley, Pearson, Leitch, Hammell, Kelly, Elliott.

Subs: Corrigan, Martinez, Adams, Woods, McFadden.

Celtic: Douglas, Balde, Mjallby, Valgaeren, Sylla, Petrov, Lennon, Moravcik, Guppy, Larsson, Hartson.

Subs: Kharine, Crainey, Maloney, Tebily, McNamara.

Referee: J Rowbotham

Celtic manager Martin O'Neill
"It was a tired performance... great to win"
Motherwell caretaker coach John Philiben
"I thought we were very unfortunate to lose that penalty"
Links to more Scot Prem stories are at the foot of the page.


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