Saturday, October 27, 2007

McDonald Hat Trick Beats Motherwell

Scottish Premier League
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Celtic Park, Glasgow

(McDonald 43, 59, 87)


CELTIC (4-4-2)
Boruc; Caldwell, Kennedy, McManus, Naylor; Nakamura (Donati 86), Hartley, S Brown, McGeady; McDonald, Killen.
Subs: M Brown, Jarosik, O’Brien, Riordan, Sno, O’Dea.

MOTHERWELL (4-4-2) Smith; Quinn (Mensing 68), Reynolds, Craigan, Paterson (Fitzpatrick 53); Lasley, McGarry, Hughes (O’Donnell 10), Clarkson; Porter, McCormack.
Subs: Meldrum, Grabban, Kinniburgh, Archdeacon.

After firing Celtic into the lead just two minutes before half-time, McDonald rifled home an emphatic second-half double to provide Celtic with a 3-0 win and the perfect tonic after a week which included a derby defeat and narrow loss in the Champions League.

With Motherwell enjoying a good run of form this season under new boss and former Celt Mark McGhee, most expected a close contest and this certainly proved to be the case, particularly in the opening 45 minutes where the visitors proved to be a more than capable threat on the counter-attack.

The first half was, in fact, a highly enjoyable contest with Motherwell taking the game to Celtic at the outset and carving out a number of chances which could have seen them open the scoring.

On more than one occasion low crosses driven into the box the box at pace would fizz across the Celtic goal, only to go begging and Artur Boruc also had to be at his brilliant best to claw away a Steven McGarry chip after a mix-up between the big Pole and full-back Lee Naylor.

Meanwhile, former Motherwell hero Scott McDonald had been a constant thorn in the side of his old team-mates, showing courage and no small amount of skill in equal measures.

He had been roundly booed by the small band of visiting supporters and their ire was only raised when he was booked after going down in the box under a challenge from Keith Lasley. But still he would not be denied and his determination finally bore fruit at the perfect moment for Celtic.

There were just two minutes left in the half when Nakamura swung a corner into the near post, where McDonald lurked in front of the Motherwell defenders to nod the ball past the stranded Smith.

So ended a highly entertaining first half and from the very first second of the ensuing period, Gordon Strachan’s men immediately attempted to add to their tally.

The home side were the early pacesetters, never allowing Motherwell to counter with the same effect as they did in the first half and it seemed only a matter of time before they broke down a well-organised defence.




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