CELTIC were left frustrated as a late Jon Obika goal earned the struggling Steelmen a brilliant point in Glasgow.

It looked as though Celtic would take a hard-fought three points as David Turnbull eventually put them ahead from the spot late on, after Luis Palma had missed from the spot earlier in the match.

Obika bundled home from a corner though to give the visitors an unlikely share of the spoils in what was at times an intriguing, if far from consistently exciting, contest.

Motherwell will feel they deserved it, even though they were helped by Celtic’s wastefulness in front of goal, and from 12 yards.

Their back five, who were further bolstered by Callum Butcher patrolling the area just in front of them, were excellent, and their goalkeeper Liam Kelly was outstanding.

Here are the talking points from a frustrated Celtic Park…


It doesn’t seem to matter who takes the penalties for Celtic, but for a squad packed full of technical footballers and more than a few accomplished finishers, they have a remarkable knack for missing them.

Their curse looked to have cost them again here. This time, it was Luis Palma’s turn to step up and try his luck from 12 yards, after Bevis Mugabi had one of those lapses that occasionally blight the otherwise good work that he does at the heart of the Motherwell backline.

He diverted a cross towards his own goal, forcing a good low save from Liam Kelly, but when the ball fell to Oh there appeared there would only be one outcome. That was until Mugabi barrelled through the back of the substitute, leaving referee Steven MacLean with no option but to point to the spot.

As much as the award prompted a roar of relief from what had become a frustrated home crowd, there was also some unmistakable trepidation given their recent ropey conversion record. It proved well founded, with Palma’s roundabout run up stoking the tension, before his tame shot to Kelly’s right was palmed away by the keeper.

It was, remarkably, the third penalty that Celtic had missed already this season. But they would get another crack at it…


When Liam Scales headed a David Turnbull corner just wide of the far post in the closing stages, the groan that went up from the Celtic support hinted that 50,000 odd people were collectively coming to the conclusion it would be one of those days for their team in front of goal.

That was until the VAR team had a closer look at the incident, and spotted a tug on the jersey of Mikey Johnston by Butcher, and invited referee MacLean over to the pitchside screen.

It was daft from Butcher, with Johnston never getting near the ball, and this time Turnbull stepped up and finished emphatically into the bottom corner.

That looked to be that, but Motherwell roared back, and when Blair Spittal swung in a corner, Obika was the first to react and somehow forced the ball home, just as the board went up to indicate 10 minutes of added time.

Celtic couldn’t find a way to win it this time though, as they had done so dramatically at Fir Park in the last meeting between the sides.


The Scotland squad man made his intentions clear here from the off, lingering over a goal kick for an age in the opening minutes of the game. And you have to hand it to him, he has made the act of wasting a few seconds whenever he can into something of an art form.

His teammate Stephen O’Donnell picked up a booking for timewasting (remarkably, during the first half) which rather came from the actions of Kelly rather than anything the full-back did himself, with referee Steven McLean deciding to make an example of someone in claret and amber.

But how Kelly avoided even as much as a talking to was something of a mystery.

As well as frustrating the Celtic fans with his long, drawn-out goal kick routine, Kelly frustrated them with his bread and butter work between the sticks, too, saving early on from Matt O’Riley’s shot and then doing brilliantly to claw out a wayward attempted clearance by teammate O’Donnell.

He wasn’t overly busy, mind you, but when he was called into action, he performed his duties admirably. He pulled off another great save from a colleague when Mugabi made a hash of a clearance, and then guessed right to repel Palma’s penalty.


The winger was handled well by Motherwell wing back Brodie Spencer when these sides met at Fir Park back in late September, and the on-loan Huddersfield Town man had another good afternoon here.

He constantly showed his direct opponent inside, and all too often Yang obliged, running into the congested central areas and being crowded out.

To the South Korean’s credit, he kept at it, and should have scored when he ghosted in off the right to meet Mikey Johnston’s clipped cross, heading wide from eight yards.

With Palma and Maeda suspended for the trip to Lazio, Yang may well have an important part to play in Rome, but he will have to step it up a level from his performance here.


It was rather a strange scene to arrive at Celtic Park as hundreds of fans streamed away from the ground, but having welcomed their team to the stadium, the Green Brigade took their leave as their ongoing ban precluded them from attending the match itself.

Whatever your opinion of the self-styled Celtic ‘ultras’ group, what is undeniable is that their absence was felt within the stadium, which – like in the thumping win over Aberdeen – was largely muted and flat for the most part.

Motherwell’s approach and the fact they were able to stymie and frustrate Celtic certainly contributed to that, but when the home side were looking for a spark, it seemed they weren’t going to get it from the stands.

The Green Brigade had billed their presence outside the stadium as a ‘day of action’. Sadly, that was where most of the action on the day took place, until the final stages.