THIS should have been a night of celebrating a piece of history being made and also quiet satisfaction for Celtic.

Instead, there is a chance, and fear, the champions may be forced to face the last three Premiership games before the winter break without a recognised striker.

Odsonne Edouard hurt his groin midway through the first-half, he was immediately substituted, and with Leigh Griffiths unavailable for the forceable future there is no other senior centre-forward available to Brendan Rodgers.

The Celtic manager’s hope will be that it’s just a tweak of the 20-year-old Frenchman’s groin rather than a tear. Such niggles can look more serious at the time than they actually are.

Scott Brown made history last night be by coming the first Celtic player since Peter Grant to play 500 games for the club and this win, as easy as you will see in competitive football, took his team back top of the league.

But what would be been foremost on Rodgers’s mind after the game was the fitness of Edouard. Celtic could cope without him at home to Dundee on Saturday but after that it’s trips to Aberdeen and Ibrox.

Stephen Robinson, the Motherwell manager, admitted this week he erred last season by playing some of his players too much over the always packed festive schedule and with easier tasks ahead of his side, key men were dropped or left on the bench.

When any Premiership manager does that they risk a doing at Celtic Park. The first-half was hugely one-sided and was over at 2-0. The Fir Park side’s visit to St Mirren this Saturday is of far more importance.

For Motherwell, this was far more what they did without the ball, and in that sense they were their own worst enemies. Too many times the run of Celtic players were not matched

Celtic from the off enjoyed the lion’s share of possession. They got far too much space down the right for James Forrest and Anthony Ralston, who got a rare start, to put in decent crosses which didn’t come to anything.

Motherwell really should have worked out that Ralston and Forrest had to be marked tighter. They did not.

The home side’s first chance came from Olivier Ntcham whose step-over bought him a glance ta goal from outside the box and his shot was deflected just wide.

Celtic were getting into good positions but in the early stages their final ball was lacking. They did however get through Motherwell’s line on 23 minutes.

Scott Sinclair didn’t have much space to play with and yet he still managed to dance past two defenders and get shot off which the alert Mark Gillespie in Motherwell’s goal did well to block. A goal was coming.

Ntcham owed his team a performance and on 28 minutes reminded us all of what he can do.

He held off two Motherwell players, spun and sent a fantastic pass inside a ball watching Ryan Bowman to young Ralston who timed his run well and polished it off with a lovely finish under Gillespie.

Within two minutes, the result was decided.

Forrest is a lovely player in the form of his life but Charles Dunne should have done better as the winger made his way into the box. The Motherwell defender’s body position was all wrong, he dived in to make a tackle with his wrong foot and committed a blatant foul.

Referee Bobby Madden had an easy decision to make, a penalty was given, and Sinclair tucked the ball right into the bottom corner, which he had to do as Gillespie wasn’t far off making a save.

So far, so easy, but football is rarely straightforward. As everyone inside the stadium was looking one way, Edouard, by now sitting on the pitch, signalled to the bench that he was in bother. It didn’t take long for the decision to be made that the Frenchman’s night was over and he limped off in discomfort.

Celtic were to score one more before half-time.

Mikey Johnston, who replaced Edouard, received the ball with his back to goal from Brown just outside the box. There were three claret and amber shirts around him but they did nothing to stop the teenager turning and then producing a quite sublime finish, a chip with plenty of power in it, which deceived Gillespie and nestled in the top corner.

Bowman and Gael Bigirimana did not resurface after the interval – in truth Robinson could have taken off any of this outfield players -and on came Aaron Sinclair and Allan Campbell.

The second-half was as you would expect. The Celtic players were hardly going to risk another injury which meant an understandable drop in their intensity levels. Motherwell were just happy to see out the night without any more damage being done.

Brown clearly fancied a goal on his landmark night. He was up for corners and even made a couple of sprints forward. Alas for the captain, it wasn’t to be.

Ntcham broke through on 63 minutes and forced Gillespie into a smart save, the Motherwell keeper getting down low to grab hold of the ball which had been hit with some force by the Celtic midfielder. That was about it.

And now over to the Celtic medical staff.