Story of Motherwell 0 - 2 Celtic: Away fans celebrate Hearts goal as David Turnbull produces magic in balance-shifting win
A roar went up from the away end at Fir Park. Yet, the ball wasn’t even in play. Jota had sent a cross-shot wide of the far post and into the stand. The same stand which housed the boisterous Celtic support.
Naturally, the first port of call was what was happening 16 miles away as Rangers led Hearts by a goal to nil at Ibrox. Or they did.
It is rare for both the Glasgow giants to be playing at the same time on a Saturday afternoon. Even with it being early October it was a proper ear pressed up against he radio moment. Expect, now it is Twitter updates and score apps.
Craig Halkett had netted a late equaliser for Robbie Neilson’s men, prompting the defiant response from the travelling support.
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The noise grew louder in the closing stages of the 2-0 win over Motherwell, finishing later than the other 3pm kick-offs due to Willie Collum suffering an injury in the first-half which brought six minutes of stoppage time.
A six-point difference in the Premiership table is now down to four.
The noise continued after the match as Celtic fans danced, jumped and chanted when saluting their players before Ange Postecoglou was hailed as he made his way off the pitch, sending a few celebratory fist pumps in the direction of the green and white hordes.
They had just won their second successive away league match and they did so with their most controlled performance away from Parkhead.
Celtic under Postecoglou are an edge of your seat team, no matter the on field situation. The way they broke at pace with purpose in the first half was exhilarating stuff, Tom Rogic and Callum McGregor pulling strings and conducting in the middle of the park.
The former set up Jota for the opening goal with a sumptuous through ball which could be seen coming a mile off but stopping it was a different matter altogether.
As for McGregor. In Scott Brown’s absence, he has grown as an on-field personality and leader. But at times it is hard not to feel sorry for him.
Celtic had their issues in the opening period as Motherwell closed them down high up the park, Graham Alexander bringing Jordan Roberts in for Kevin van Veen to help with the press.
It would be easy for McGregor to be exasperated with his colleagues, as if he was a contestant on Crystal Maze trying to navigate a challenge with a team-mate who is blindfolded. Except there are ten of them.
Building from the back still poses problems. Early on there was a lot of apologising as players hesitated in and out of possession, while there was defensive miscommunication on occasion.
Yet, those issues were ironed out, aided by a Motherwell side who are impressive battlers but lack finesse in the midfield.
At no point, even before David Turnbull's ludicrous strike for the second goal or the home side’s “blatant penalty” shout, were Celtic in danger of not collecting three points.
That in itself is progress for this Celtic side, ridding themselves of their sea legs and addressing the balance towards being a team who can control a game from start to finish.
Just don’t expect many more Hearts goals to be welcomed by the Celtic support.
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