Scottish Premiership

Motherwell 1-1 Celtic: Danny Johnson's late goal earns point

By Scott MullenBBC Sport Scotland at Fir Park

Danny Johnson's late goal earned Motherwell a precious Scottish Premiership point and prevented Celtic returning to the top of the table.

Brendan Rodgers' side looked like returning to the summit thanks to Ryan Christie's sumptuous goal - his sixth in nine games - but they are now third.

Leigh Griffiths had a first-half spot-kick saved by Mark Gillespie and Filip Benkovic had an effort disallowed.

Johnston skidded a late shot past Craig Gordon to earn an unlikely draw.

Champions Celtic now trail Kilmarnock by a point - albeit with two games and hand - and are behind Rangers on goal difference.

On Saturday, Celtic host Kilmarnock, whose manager Steve Clarke has yet to lose to the Parkhead club in his spell at Rugby Park.

Motherwell, whose best chance before the goal was a Conor Sammon shot straight at Gordon, stay ninth - six points clear of the relegation play-off place.

Christie class amid chaos

Most of the discussion pre-match was on who had been left out of the Celtic team.

From Sunday's League Cup final win there were seven changes in total, including Odsonne Edouard, Tom Rogic and James Forrest all dropping out, with captain Scott Brown among those returning.

However, it did not take long into proceedings at a misty Fir Park for the headlines to turn to one man who is now an integral part of the Celtic team.

Sitting narrow on the left of midfield, Christie was unplayable at times, particularly early on as Motherwell - who lost captain Peter Hartley after six minutes to injury - were pushed deeper and deeper.

On 13 minutes, the man who won Rodgers his seventh trophy as Celtic manager at the weekend demonstrated his class.

With the hosts' defence a man light while Liam Donnelly was off receiving treatment, Christie gathered the ball in the Motherwell box with a neat first touch before a crisp finish across Gillespie arrowed into the far corner.

It was a game of few chances as Stephen Robinson's side were so focussed on repelling Celtic that they struggled to create opportunities of their own.

Ten minutes after taking the lead, Benkovic had the ball in the net and the large travelling support celebrated only for referee Kevin Clancy to rule it out for a tug in the box.

With half-time approaching, the home side could have fallen further behind.

Christie was again at the heart of it, with a rash challenge from Andy Rose bringing him down inside the penalty area. Griffiths stepped up, but Gillespie was equal to his spot kick, diving superbly to his left before then punching clear.

Leigh Griffiths
Leigh Griffiths's penalty was saved by Mark Gillespie

Motherwell emerged stronger in the second half and pushed back the Celtic tide.

An Allan Campbell shot straight at Gordon gave them hope before Sammon saw a low shot smothered by the Scotland keeper.

The chance looked to have gone for Motherwell but, in the dying seconds, with Celtic clinging on, they struck to claim a precious point.

The ball broke to Johnson on the left edge of the box, and with a swipe of his left foot, his shot evaded Gordon's grasp and hit the far post before ruffling the net.

Motherwell resilience to the fore - analysis

BBC Scotland's Alasdair Lamont at Fir Park

Just as they did twice last season, Motherwell denied Celtic victory at Fir Park with a performance of guts and determination.

They refused to accept defeat and showed a resilience that earned them a similar result against Rangers and an emphatic win over Aberdeen. Robinson has bemoaned his side's inconsistency but they always turn up when the big teams come to Fir Park.

It looked like Celtic were on course to return to the top of the league and they played some good football in the first period, but after Griffiths missed the penalty they seldom tested Mark Gillespie.

Rodgers cut a frustrated figure at times on the touchline as his team failed to maintain the fluency they had in the early period and ultimately paid the price with Johnson's late equaliser.



Formation 4-4-2

  • 20Gillespie
  • 22DonnellySubstituted forLivingstoneat 15'minutesBooked at 26minsSubstituted forMainat 72'minutes
  • 5Aldred
  • 6HartleySubstituted forRoseat 6'minutes
  • 2Tait
  • 14Grimshaw
  • 8CampbellBooked at 38mins
  • 4McHugh
  • 28Turnbull
  • 19Sammon
  • 24JohnsonBooked at 35mins


  • 9Main
  • 12Bowman
  • 13Ferguson
  • 15Rose
  • 17Bigirimana
  • 23Gorrin
  • 29Livingstone


Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Gordon
  • 12Gamboa
  • 5Simunovic
  • 32Benkovic
  • 63Tierney
  • 8Brown
  • 21NtchamSubstituted forSinclairat 45'minutes
  • 15HayesSubstituted forRogicat 81'minutes
  • 42McGregor
  • 17Christie
  • 9GriffithsSubstituted forEdouardat 66'minutes


  • 3Izaguirre
  • 4Hendry
  • 11Sinclair
  • 18Rogic
  • 22Edouard
  • 29Bain
  • 49Forrest
Kevin Clancy

Match Stats

Home TeamMotherwellAway TeamCeltic
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Motherwell 1, Celtic 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Motherwell 1, Celtic 1.

  3. Goal!

    Goal! Motherwell 1, Celtic 1. Danny Johnson (Motherwell) left footed shot from the left side of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by David Turnbull.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Conor Sammon (Motherwell).

  5. Post update

    Kieran Tierney (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  6. Post update

    Carl McHugh (Motherwell) has gone down, but that's a dive.

  7. Post update

    Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Scott Sinclair.

  8. Post update

    Attempt missed. Kieran Tierney (Celtic) header from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Andy Rose (Motherwell).

  10. Post update

    Ryan Christie (Celtic) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  11. Post update

    Attempt saved. Curtis Main (Motherwell) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner.

  12. Substitution

    Substitution, Celtic. Tomas Rogic replaces Jonny Hayes.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Allan Campbell (Motherwell).

  14. Post update

    Kieran Tierney (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, Motherwell. Curtis Main replaces Adam Livingstone.

  16. Post update

    Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Richard Tait.

  17. Post update

    Attempt missed. Danny Johnson (Motherwell) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high.

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Celtic. Odsonne Edouard replaces Leigh Griffiths because of an injury.

  19. Post update

    Attempt missed. David Turnbull (Motherwell) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

  20. Post update

    Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Ryan Christie.

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