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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 January 2006, 15:56 GMT
Motherwell 1-3 Celtic
Aiden McGeady celebrates at Fir Park
McGeady made a huge impact in the second half
Aiden McGeady came off the bench to inspire a Celtic victory that stretches their SPL lead to 10 points.

Maciej Zurawski ran clear of the home side's defence to shoot Celtic in front after 17 minutes.

But Motherwell responded shortly before the interval with an outstanding volley from Jim Hamilton.

McGeady fired Celtic ahead again with the help of a deflection, set up John Hartson's stabbed finish and crashed a fierce shot against the crossbar.

The teams served up an amazing 4-4 draw on the opening day of the season and there were thrills aplenty at Fir Park again.

There was a Celtic recall for Mo Camara, in an unfamiliar defence that included Stanislav Varga and Adam Virgo, and the left-back was involved immediately - clearing a Richie Foran header off the goal-line.

The Irish midfielder connected with a Steven Hammell corner but Camara was on the post and diverted the ball wide.

Celtic came close in the ninth minute when Shunsuke Nakamura's free-kick flicked off the head of defender Martyn Corrigan and looped onto the crossbar.

Space in midfield was congested, with Motherwell working hard to close down their opponents.

But Celtic made the breakthrough on 17 minutes when Stilian Petrov played through Zurawski and the Pole held off the challenge of William Kinniburgh to fire the ball into the corner of the net, despite 'keeper Graeme Smith getting a touch.

Shaun Maloney was inches away from extending the lead when his smart free-kick curled wide.

Scott McDonald, who scored twice in the final minutes of last season to deny Celtic the championship, was lively in attack for Motherwell.

And the Australian did well to twist past Paul Telfer and drill a low cross into the six yard box but Camara was on hand to clear again.

However, the home side were level four minutes before half-time, thanks to a sensational strike from Hamilton.

Jim Hamilton scored a wonderful goal for Motherwell
Hamilton scored a wonderful goal for Motherwell

Brian Kerr delivered a diagonal cross to the edge of the penalty box and the big striker met it on the volley and sent the ball crashing into the top corner.

Celtic responded with a Hartson header from seven yards which Smith got down well to save.

The second half began in scrappy fashion, with neither side capable of stringing a sequence of passes together.

With 65 minutes gone, Zurawski was denied by a great block by Stephen Craigan after latching onto a neat cushioned touch from Hartson.

Six minutes later, Celtic were ahead and it was down to substitute McGeady and a stroke of luck.

The Irish youngster let fly with a shot from 20 yards and it took a huge deflection to bamboozle Smith and land in the net.

McDonald came close to an immediate equaliser when he threw himself at Foran cross, but his header from six yards went wide.

Celtic made the points safe when McGeady skipped past a couple of challenges to get to the bi-line and cut-back for Hartson to find the target with a low shot.

McGeady was in terrific form and fashioned a chance with more fancy footwork but his powerful shot cannoned off the crossbar.

Motherwell: Graeme Smith, Corrigan, Craigan, Kinniburgh (McLean 84), Hammell, Kerr, McBride, McCormack, Foran, Scott McDonald, Hamilton. Subs Not Used: Meldrum, Fagan, Maguire, Coakley, Reynolds, Darren Lee Smith.

Booked: McCormack, Foran, Hamilton. Goal: Hamilton 41.

Celtic: Boruc, Telfer, Virgo, Varga, Camara, Nakamura (McGeady 62), Lennon, Petrov, Maloney, Zurawski (Pearson 74), Hartson. Subs Not Used: Marshall, Wilson, Wallace, Lawson, O'Dea.

Goals: Zurawski 17, McGeady 71, Hartson 85.

Att: 11,503

Ref: C Richmond

Interview: Celtic boss Gordon Strachan

Interview: Motherwell boss Terry Butcher


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