8/10/2019 6:07:06 PM

Celtic crash five past Motherwell

Celtic crash five past Motherwell

London: Celtic shrugged off the loss of Kieran Tierney for a Scottish record transfer fee to Arsenal and the concession of an early goal to romp to a 5-2 win at Motherwell on Saturday.

Tierney joined the Gunners for £25 million ($30 million) on Thursday and Celtic boss Neil Lennon also ran the risk of resting a few key players ahead of Tuesday's vital Champions League third qualifying round second leg against Romanian champions CFR Cluj.

That decision liked like it could have backfired as an error from goalkeeper Scott Bain allowed Liam Donnelly to give the hosts a shock lead after 12 minutes.

However, the Scottish champions responded immediately as right-back Kristoffer Ajer charged forward to level two minutes later.

With forward Odsonne Edouard left on the bench with the Cluj tie delicately balanced at 1-1 after the first leg in Romania last week, Leigh Griffiths was given the chance to start up front and made his mark by arrowing a free-kick into the bottom corner just before half-time.

Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo has the unenvious task of stepping into the void left by Tierney at left-back.

The Belgian has had an erratic start to his Celtic career, but did well to tee up James Forrest to make the points safe 24 minutes from time.

Edouard and Ryan Christie, who scored a hat-trick in last weekend's 7-0 thrashing of St. Johnstone, were then introduced and went on to rub salt into Motherwell's wounds.

Olivier Ntcham teed up Edouard for a classy finish into the bottom corner to make it 4-1 and when the Frenchman was chopped down in the box four minutes from time, Christie stepped up to score from the penalty spot.

"My only criticism would be of the way we approached the game initially," Lennon told the BBC. "In the first 15 minutes there were a few bad habits creeping in that we want to eradicate. We were inviting pressure we didn't need to.

"Once we solved that we were outstanding, especially to score five after the quick turnaround from Wednesday night, with five different scorers.

"Second half, we were magnificent. That's 12 goals in two league games -- I can't ask for any more than that."

Donnelly pulled a goal back for Motherwell in stoppage time, but it was too little, too late for the Steelmen.

Celtic open up a three-point lead over Steven Gerrard's Rangers, who are in action on Sunday at home to Hibernian.

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