Celtic witnessed a new low last midweek following a shocking defeat against minnows Ferencvárosi at Celtic Park. They endured a humiliating exit from the UEFA Champions League second qualifying rounds and the gaffer Neil Lennon demanded a reaction this afternoon when the Hoops hosted Motherwell in a crucial Premiership fixture. Rangers have enjoyed a flying start and Celtic needed to respond today.
Although the visitors looked resilient early on, an exquisite Callum McGregor run tore them apart before James Forrest found the net late in the first half. The Bhoys made it look easy after the break and eventually secured a comfortable 3-0 victory to climb up to third in the league standings.
Below are the Celtic players rated in their commanding win versus Motherwell.
Vasilis Barkas: 7
Looked a bit nervy early on but was mostly untested throughout. The Greek custodian had a comfortable cleansheet against the struggling Steelmen.
Hatem Abd Elhamed: 7.5
Had an injury-ravaged 2019-20 campaign but is back in business this term and has been preferred once again over Jeremie Frimpong. The Israel international was effective from the right-back slot with his constant overlapping movements, cut insides and crosses from the wide areas.
Christopher Jullien: 8
The Frenchman was up against Tony Watt and Chris Long as the Motherwell duo failed to threaten enough against the hosts’ towering defensive third. Jullien finished things off in sheer style when his shot found the bottom of the net.
Kristoffer Ajer: 8
The Norwegian proved his worth once more with yet another calm and composed defensive display. Not only did he help the Hoops register a cleansheet but also set it up exquisitely for Ajeti to double the lead around the 73rd-minute mark.
Greg Taylor: 6.5
The youngster did well down the left and balanced his game between attack and defence. Needs to work on a bit more on the final ball. Got replaced by Frimpong around the hour mark.
Scott Brown: 6
Celtic’s 35-year-old veteran skipper was combative as always with tackles and challenges. But he has slowed down a bit in recent months, and Lennon should start rotating him to get the best of him during the decisive fixtures.
Callum McGregor: 9
Indubitably the best player on the pitch today who not only dictated the game from the centre of the pitch but also helped the Bhoys break the deadlock with a majestic run before assisting Forrest. The Scotsman was spot on with his decision making, down the middle runs, passes and link-up football.
James Forrest: 8.5
Did exceptionally well to pick up McGregor’s cross-field pass and controlled it with composure before finding the net. Could have doubled his tally had the late effort by him not hit the woodwork.
Olivier Ntcham: 6.5
Started from an advanced midfield slot. Made his presence known with one-twos, link-up play as well as shooting attributes. But he lacked vision and creativity after a certain period and got replaced by Ajeti midway through the second half.
Mohamed Elyounoussi: 6.5
Started down the right-hand flank, had a decent attempt in the early minutes but was taken off at the break and got replaced by Patryk Klimala. The reason, however, is not known yet and might turn out to be fitness concerns.
Ryan Christie: 7
Despite failing midweek, Lennon once again started him as a makeshift ‘number 9’. The Scotsman struggled to attune to it before being shifted to his usual duties following Klimala and Ajeti’s arrival. Worked hard throughout and deserve plaudits for his efforts to adjust to this new role.
Patryk Klimala: 7
Was lively since coming on at the break but missed out on getting his name on the scoresheet when Trevor Carson denied his effort.
Albian Ajeti: 7.5
Showcased his poaching traits once again when he picked up Ajer’s pass and fired in minutes into his introduction. Ajeti’s strike doubled the lead and ensured all three points for the home side.
Jeremie Frimpong: 7
The teenager looked menacing since coming on with his energetic runs, cut insides and attacking intent.
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