Ten-man Motherwell keep Celtic at bay

Ten-man Motherwell keep Celtic at bay
Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson

Motherwell held SPL leaders Celtic to a goalless draw despite playing for more than half the match with 10 men at Fir Park.

Cedric Kipre was shown a straight red card by referee Craig Thomson in the 41st minute, having appeared to flick a foot out at Hoops captain Scott Brown, who had pushed the defender after the pair had tumbled to the floor in a challenge.

The 21-year-old Frenchman was also sent off by Thomson for conceding a penalty in Celtic's Betfred Cup final win at Hampden Park in November, and Stephen Robinson's side had their backs to the wall thereafter but kept the Hoops at bay for a hard-earned point.

Brendan Rodgers' side moved 10 points clear of Rangers with a game in hand and remain on course for their seventh successive title but they came up against a determined Well side galvanised by Kipre's dismissal.

Celtic's on-loan goalkeeper Scott Bain, who made his debut in the Old Firm win over Rangers last week, kept his place at the expense of fit-again Dorus de Vries and was the busier keeper in the first half.

In the 12th minute, Motherwell midfielder Chris Cadden fired a decent long-distance drive at the Parkhead stopper, who moments later made a much more impressive save from a close-range Curtis Main header.

There had been some tinkering in the Parkhead side with centre-back Jozo Simunovic suspended and left-back Kieran Tierney injured - they were replaced by Jack Hendry and striker Odsonne Edouard - and they could not get firing.

Bain was called into action again when having to deal with Ryan Bowman's powerful volley from just inside the box.

Then he flew to his right to fist Main's ferocious 30-yard free-kick wide for a corner which came to nothing.

Well 'keeper Trevor Carson had made a save from James Forrest but the Lanarkshire side were holding their own.

However, four minutes from the break the game turned in Celtic's favour when Kipre was sent packing for reacting to Brown's push after they went to ground.

The home fans booed Thomson as he went up the tunnel at half-time with Brown coming in for the same treatment.

Carson made saves from Forrest and Rogic, twice, as the champions stepped up the pace early in the second half.

Rodgers brought on Scott Sinclair, Stuart Armstrong and Patrick Roberts for Edouard, Olivier Ntcham and James Forrest respectively and the pressure intensified.

Roberts - back for the first time since November after recovering from a hamstring injury - skimmed the bar in the 81st minute with a left-footed drive and Armstrong came close with a curling shot from the edge of the box.

In a stirring finale, Well defender Richard Tait brilliantly blocked a Sinclair shot on a Hoops breakaway after Main's penalty claim - following a challenge by Hendry - was dismissed by Thomson.

Carson then tipped a Moussa Dembele header over the bar but in the end they thwarted Celtic for a well-deserved point, with Thomson again booed off.

- PA

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