Celtic reduced Rangers’ lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership to just the 20 points with a 2-1 win over Motherwell at Celtic Park on Saturday afternoon.
Goals either side of half time from Stephen Welsh and Odsonne Edouard had given Celtic a comfortable 2-0 advantage, and they survived a fightback from Motherwell in the second period to take all three points.
The hosts raced into a 1-0 lead inside the first two minutes, Welsh meeting David Turnbull’s corner and powering a header past Liam Kelly for his first ever Celtic goal.
Five minutes into the second half, the Hoops doubled their advantage. Edouard and Callum McGregor combined, before the former spun on the edge of the box and fired a low effort into the bottom corner.
Allan Campbell pulled one back for Motherwell just after the hour mark, the midfielder audaciously chipping Scott Bain in the Celtic goal from outside the area to halve the deficit, before Leigh Griffiths was introduced from the bench shortly after to reach the 250-match milestone for the Bhoys .
The Motherwell goal briefly shook Celtic as the visitors went in search of an equaliser but they soon regained control, Tom Rogic calling Kelly into a fabulous save as the clock ticked down.
It was to be the final foray forward of note as Celtic saw the game out to secure all three points – their second league win in the space of five days following Tuesday’s win over Kilmarnock.
Although still some way behind Rangers at the top of the Scottish Premiership, the victory does consolidate Neil Lennon’s side in second, giving them a six point advantage over third place Hibernian – plus two games in hand over the Edinburgh outfit. Celtic are back in action on Wednesday when they travel to St Mirren.
Rivals Rangers play Hamilton Academical on Sunday and can regain their 23-point advantage at the league summit with victory.