JAMES McFadden made his first start since returning to Motherwell, but was overshadowed by Michael Higdon as the big striker grabbed his 19th goal of the season to beat Celtic last night (Wednesday).
Stevie Hammell also returned to the line-up after recovering from injury, with Stuart Carwsell back on the bench and Zaine Francis-Angol missing out.
The home side had a point to prove after back to back defeats against Dundee United and Ross County, the latter with a horrendous performance, had seen them slip to fourth place in the in the SPL.
’Well had been desperately unlucky not to win at Parkhead on January 2, with Tom Hateley missing a penalty, and seemed determined not to have another hard luck story.
Fraser Forster was the first to get his gloves dirty as Nicky Law played in Henrik Ojamaa who found Keith Lasley at the edge of the box, but his shut took a large deflection which took much of the sting out of it.
At the other end Darren Randolph had more trouble with his own defenders than the visitor’s strike force on Anthony Stokes and Georgios Samaras, as Shaun Hutchinson swiped at a James Forrest cross and the ball sprung off his standing leg towards his own goal, but his ’keeper was alert.
’Well took the lead on 31 minutes as Lasley played a through ball and Law beat Victor Wanyama before shooting for goal, the ball appeared to be going wide, but CHRIS HUMPRHEY was on hand at the back post to slam it home.
On 58 minutes Celtic finally mustered their first shot on target through Kris Commons, but from the edge of the box could only draw a fairly regulation save from Randolph.
A fast break from a ’Well corner almost spelled disaster as Stokes found Commons who tried to Randolph, but was pushed further and further wide and the chance was gone.
After the smoke bomb incident at Dingwall, there was more unwelcome behaviour from amongst the ’Well support as a yob in the East Stand threw a drink at Commons as he took a throw-in.
However, less than a minute later, on 63 minutes, it was Commons who smiling as his side equalised.
Stokes sent Forrest scampering down the right and his dinked cross allowed Samaras to steal in between Hutchinson and Randolph and head in.
Parity would only last 10 minutes, as a mistake by Efe Ambrose was seized upon by Ojamaa who set up Law to cross to the back post and HIGDON stole in to meet the ball with a precise volley.
Celtic were desperate in their search for an equaliser and Randolph had more to do in the last ten minutes than the previous 80, but ‘Well stood firm to record their first victory over the Parkhead side for exactly two years.
Motherwell: Randolph, Hammell, Hutchinson, Ramsden, Cummins, Law, Humphrey, Lasley, Ojamaa (Higginbotham 79), Higdon (McHugh 89), McFadden (Carswell 71). Subs not used: Hollis, Saunders, Murray, Daley.
Celtic: Forster, Matthews, Izaguirre, Rogne, Commons, Rogic (Ledley 54), Kayal (Ambrose 60), Forrest, Wanyama, Samaras, Stokes (Hooper 71). Subs not used: Zaluska, McCourt, McGeouch, Nouioui.
Refree: Iain Brines.