Match ends, Motherwell 0, Celtic 5.
Motherwell 0-5 Celtic
Incisive Celtic swept aside Motherwell with an impressive performance full of power and pace at Fir Park, with in-form Kris Commons scoring twice.
Only some gritty defending prevented the Glasgow side taking the lead before Commons' nonchalant back-heel opened the scoring after 44 minutes.
Efe Ambrose rose unchallenged to head the second at a 54th-minute corner.
Commons pounced again, Anthony Stokes fired Celtic's fourth and Bahrudin Atajic chipped in a late fifth.
It not only stretched the reigning champions' Scottish Premiership lead to eight points but took their tally to 12 goals in two games as they appear determined to prove their worth after the disappointment of their Champions League exit.
Yet third-top Motherwell had gone into the game looking for a third straight win over Celtic at Fir Park, the scene of the visitors' last domestic defeat in April.
Home manager Stuart McCall had reacted to the shock Scottish Cup exit at the hands of League Two part-timers Albion Rovers by making five changes.
Misfiring former Everton forward James McFadden was dumped to the bench along with Paul Lawson and Henri Anier, while Zaine Francis-Angol and Bob McHugh missed out through injury.
Back came captain Keith Lasley and John Sutton along with Simon Ramsden, Iain Vigurs and Craig Moore.
Motherwell needed all the experience they could muster as Celtic hit them with wave after wave of attack in a determination to emulate the goal-happy form that destroyed Hearts in the Cup.
Charlie Mulgrew joined Ambrose and Virgil van Dijk in a three-man defence, allowing full-backs Emilio Izaguirre and Mikael Lustig to rampage down the flanks.
The latter could have put the visitors ahead after only 20 seconds, but goalkeeper Gunnar Nielsen pushed away the Swede's 16-yard drive after being set up by Teemu Pukki, who had started instead of virus-hit Nir Biton.
McCall had to re-arrange his side after only nine minutes when Fraser Kerr limped off with what looked like a hamstring injury to be replaced with Adam Cummins.
However, luck was on their side when a Scott Brown cross deflected off Stevie Hammell's hand and referee Steven McLean pointed to the corner rather than the penalty spot.
Celtic's attacking was relentless and Lustig climbed above his marker to send a header a couple of feet over.
Just when Motherwell started to take a foothold in the game, Celtic took the lead seconds before the break.
Pukki's low cross failed to find a taker in front of goal, but it was collected by Stokes and, although the striker's shot was heading wide of the far post, Commons cleverly deflected the ball past Neilson.
Motherwell captain Lasley was incensed, claiming a foul on a team-mate in the lead-up to the goal, and his anger would have intensified had a Joe Ledley header across the face of goal crept inside the far post in the opening exchange of the second half.
The home side briefly threatened with a Sutton header that looped on to the top of the Celtic net, but that simply stung the ruthless visitors to strike at the other end as Ambrose rose to meet a Mulgrew corner in their next attack.
Brown blasted straight at Neilson from close range, the goalkeeper ungainly scrambled clear a Strokes drive and Pukki was booked for diving when he should have been given a penalty for a late Cummins challenge.
Ledley had a shot pushed wide at near post, but the pressure eventually led to a third goal when Nielson could only parry a Izaguirre shot and Commons eased the ball over the line.
A fine Mulgrew pass put Pukki clear out wide and his cross was swept home by Stokes.
There was still time for substitute Atajic to loft over the stranded Nielson to score the Swedish striker's first goal for Celtic as last season's runners-up, who have now conceded nine goals in their last two home games, were humbled for a second time in a week.
- 20KerrSubstituted forCumminsat 10'minutes
- 5HutchinsonBooked at 16mins
- 14LasleyBooked at 44mins
- 22MooreSubstituted forAnierat 60'minutes
- 8BrownSubstituted forHendersonat 84'minutes
- 5van Dijk
- 15CommonsSubstituted forAtajicat 79'minutes
- 20PukkiBooked at 67minsSubstituted forBoerrigterat 79'minutes
- Steven McLean
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Motherwell 0, Celtic 5.
Goal! Motherwell 0, Celtic 5. Bahrudin Atajic (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the high centre of the goal.
Virgil van Dijk (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Stuart Carswell (Motherwell).
Attempt saved. Derk Boerrigter (Celtic) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the top right corner.
Substitution, Celtic. Liam Henderson replaces Scott Brown.
Attempt missed. Iain Vigurs (Motherwell) right footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the right misses to the right.
Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Efe Ambrose.
Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Simon Ramsden.
Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Adam Cummins.
Substitution, Celtic. Bahrudin Atajic replaces Kris Commons.
Substitution, Celtic. Derk Boerrigter replaces Teemu Pukki.
Goal! Motherwell 0, Celtic 4. Anthony Stokes (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Teemu Pukki.
Goal! Motherwell 0, Celtic 3. Kris Commons (Celtic) right footed shot from very close range to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Emilio Izaguirre.
Attempt saved. Emilio Izaguirre (Celtic) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Attempt saved. Kris Commons (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.
Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Shaun Hutchinson.
Foul by John Sutton (Motherwell).
Efe Ambrose (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Emilio Izaguirre (Celtic).
Keith Lasley (Motherwell) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Gunnar Nielsen.
Attempt saved. Joe Ledley (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.
Teemu Pukki (Celtic) is shown the yellow card.
Foul by Scott Brown (Celtic).
Iain Vigurs (Motherwell) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Attempt missed. Teemu Pukki (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is just a bit too high.
Foul by Kris Commons (Celtic).
Keith Lasley (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Charlie Mulgrew (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses the top right corner.
Kris Commons (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Stuart Carswell (Motherwell).
Substitution, Motherwell. Henri Anier replaces Craig Moore.
Scott Brown (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Steven Hammell (Motherwell).
Attempt saved. Scott Brown (Celtic) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Foul by Efe Ambrose (Celtic).
Craig Moore (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Goal! Motherwell 0, Celtic 2. Efe Ambrose (Celtic) header from the centre of the box to the high centre of the goal. Assisted by Charlie Mulgrew with a cross.