CELTIC saw another exceptional display on the pitch last night soured by fresh controversy involving their supporters as damage was caused to a section of Fir Park.
Seats in the south stand, where the bulk of a 6000 travelling support were situated, were ripped out during Celtic’s crushing 5-0 win over Motherwell which stretched their lead at the top of the Premiership to five points.
SPFL match delegate Alan Dick and Celtic’s head of security Ronnie Hawthorn inspected the affected area after the match. A Motherwell spokesman indicated that the matter would be dealt privately between the clubs. Smoke bombs and flares were also let off by fans in the same stand before and during the match. Celtic are currently subject to disciplinary proceedings from both the SPFL and Uefa for banners displayed by the Green Brigade section of their support at recent home matches.
But there are no problems for Celtic on the field at the moment. Six days after their stunning 7-0 Scottish Cup destruction of Hearts, they delivered another free-scoring display to dismantle Motherwell and leave manager Neil Lennon purring with satisfaction.
“It shows the level the players can rise to,” said Lennon. “They all played very well, they are at the top of their game at the minute. The pace, intensity and concentration they are playing with is where we want them to be.
“We always felt they had it in them. It’s a shame that it has taken going out of the Champions League this season before we have seen them really at their best. The European games do take their toll and we did have a really heavy period of games for a long time. We can obviously concentrate on domestic duties once we get Barcelona out of the way. But this will set them up to go to the Nou Camp on Wednesday night and give it a go. It’s been a bit early for this team to try and qualify from a Champions League group that strong. But you can see what they are capable of and we will look to make another attempt at it next year.”
Kris Commons followed up his hat-trick against Hearts with a double last night, taking his season’s tally to 13.
“Sometimes we take Kris for granted but he’s a special player,” added Lennon. “He’s getting better all the time and is in a rich vein of form.”
Lennon also had praise for Efe Ambrose, the Nigerian defender playing just a few hours after his wife gave birth to a daughter and getting on the scoresheet.
“I would say it’s been a Carlsberg day for Efe,” smiled Lennon. “He’s had a baby daughter, he’s watched the World Cup draw which his country were in and topped it off by scoring in a fantastic win. I don’t think days come much better than that, really.
“There was no doubt he would play. He has tunnel vision when it comes to his football. He is a fantastic professional, one of the best I’ve had the luck to work with.”
Motherwell manager Stuart McCall admitted his team could not cope with Celtic, although he lamented the loss of Ambrose’s goal from a corner which made it 2-0. “It was a bread and butter corner kick and we had a lot of big lads there,” he said.
“When we’ve beaten Celtic here before, you got a feel for whether it could happen in the first ten minutes or so. But tonight they started really well and you could tell they were hungry.”