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Page last updated at 15:52 GMT, Saturday, 5 April 2008 16:52 UK

Celtic 0-1 Motherwell

By Thomas McGuigan

Simon Lappin celebrates his goal
Lappin gave Motherwell the lead with a cool finish

Celtic's hopes of retaining their SPL title were all but extinguished as they crashed to defeat against 10-man Motherwell at Celtic Park.

Despite dominating for long spells, Gordon Strachan's side failed to score.

Simon Lappin gave Motherwell the lead in the 33rd minute when he clipped the ball home after Artur Boruc palmed away Marc Fitzpatrick's shot.

Bob Malcolm was sent off for a high challenge on Massimo Donati, but Celtic could not find an equaliser.

Celtic, with new first-team coach Neil Lennon in the dugout, made two changes to the side which lost to Rangers.

Donati replaced Paul Hartley, while leading goalscorer Scott McDonald was restored at the expense of Georgios Samaras, who was relegated to the bench.

Motherwell were without suspended striker David Clarkson, while Steven Hammell was recalled and Keith Lasley dropped to the bench.

Donati spurned an early chance of a low-key opening 10 minutes when he pounced on Paul Quinn's poor backpass, but shot straight at Graeme Smith.

Shunsuke Nakamura failed to spark a toothless Celtic into life

The hosts almost opened the scoring in the 19th minute when Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink's header struck the crossbar from Aiden McGeady's cross.

Lappin gave Motherwell the lead in the 33rd minute in their first threatening attack.

Fitzpatrick's shot was palmed away by Boruc, but Lappin followed up to clip the ball home from a tight angle.

Celtic were lacking a cutting edge as they penned Motherwell into their own half, but could not find an opening.

Bob Malcolm was sent off after raising his studs as he slid into tackle Donati.

McCormack almost doubled Motherwell's lead a minute later, but his wicked shot whistled just over Boruc's bar.


McDonald cut a forlorn figure as he was substituted and replaced by Samaras.

Andreas Hinkel forced Smith into a brilliant save in the 68th minute as Celtic swarmed the Motherwell goal in search of an equaliser.

The hosts continued to press but, apart from McGeady, did not pose a serious threat to Smith's goal.

Ben Hutchinson came on for Hinkel and Smith saved Samaras' shot with his feet deep into injury-time.

Motherwell were rewarded for some dogged defending as Celtic slipped six points behind Rangers, having played two games more.

Celtic: Boruc, Hinkel (Hutchinson 87), Caldwell, McManus, Naylor, Nakamura, Scott Brown, Donati (Robson 69), McGeady, McDonald (Samaras 60), Vennegoor of Hesselink. Subs Not Used: Mark Brown, Wilson, Sno, Hartley.

Motherwell: Graeme Smith, Quinn (Brian McLean 86), Reynolds, Craigan, Hammell, Fitzpatrick, Malcolm, Hughes, Lappin, Porter, McCormack (Murphy 77). Subs Not Used: Daniels, Lasley, McGarry, Darren Smith, Archdeacon.

Sent Off: Malcolm (51).

Booked: Porter, Graeme Smith.

Goals: Lappin 33.

Att: 58,624

Ref: C Murray

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Motherwell's Simon Lappin 7.71 8.00 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

see also
Strachan stunned by latest loss
05 Apr 08 |  Celtic
McGhee hails victory over Celtic
05 Apr 08 |  Motherwell

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