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2009-10-17: Celtic 0-0 Motherwell, SPL
|Match Pictures | Matches: 2009 - 2010 | 2009-2010 Pictures|
- In the week prior to the game many of the team were away on various international duties.
- Glen Loovens missed the game as a result of a one match ban from the SFA disciplinary panel's review of the incident between him and Maurice Edu in the last Rangers -v- Celtic game of last season.
- On the day of the game an interview with Scott McDonald appeared in the Times where he said, amongst other things, that the Celtic support were spoilt.
ReviewAs poor a performance seen from a Celtic team at home as any since the bad old days under the management of Lou Macari. A shockingly inept and toothless display which clearly showed how team 'downsizing' was eating into quality on the park and was evident for all the fans to see on the day. And the fans made their displeasure known during the game and at the final whistle.
Wilson (McCourt 76), Caldwell, McManus, Naylor,
McGinn, Robson (Zhi 68), Brown, McGeady,
McDonald, Samaras (Maloney 58).
Subs Not Used: Zaluska, Thompson, Crosas, Caddis.
Moutaouakil, Saunders, Reynolds, Hammell,
Humphrey (Halsman 73), Coke, Hateley, Forbes,Murphy (Jennings 87),
Jutkiewicz (Sutton 82).
Subs Not Used: Kosiorowski, Craigan, Lasley, McHugh.
Att: 58,000 (This was the 'official' figure given. The actual figure was somewhere between 42-45,000)
Ref: C Boyle (Scotland).
- Match Report - see below
|Shots On Target||9||4|
|Shots Off Target||12||1|
Mowbray bristles at criticism after Celtic draw blankCeltic 0 Motherwell 0
The Times, October 19, 2009
“Lies, damned lies and statistics” was the theme of Tony Mowbray’s post-match press conference on Saturday and what better proof of the Celtic manager’s belief that fact is often mis-represented, than evoking a phrase attributed to Benjamin Disraeli. Wrongly.
The notable British Prime Minister had actually been dead for ten years before the phrase was coined. Mowbray’s own delve into history came after the frustrations of a goalless draw with Motherwell poured out from the Celtic Park crowd, who jeered their team off the pitch. “That’s nothing new, Celtic fans would have booed their team off the pitch for the last 100 years if they had not beaten Motherwell,” Mowbray said.
At the time, it seemed an extreme number to pluck out of the air. However, given that Old Firm fans rioted and set fire to part of Hampden Park after the 1909 Scottish Cup final did not move into extra-time after Celtic and Rangers drew 2-2, perhaps Mowbray has a greater historical grasp than many around him.
He was certainly far more accurate than yesterday’s backpage headlines that screamed, “The worst in 63 years”. It was claimed that Mowbray’s home record was the poorest since Jimmy McGrory in 1946, having won only two of the seven games at Celtic Park this season. The fact that that sequence included three European matches is crucial to the “lies, demanded lies and statistics” debate, and whatever side of the fence you argue from.
Mowbray insisted that the Champions League defeats by Dynamo Moscow and Arsenal, and a draw with Rapid Vienna, are irrelevant to his domestic record. However, to achieve a proper sense of perspective all someone had to do was check the 1946 statistic and compare: McGrory’s team took four points from their first ten games and eventually finished seventh — how that can stack up against the current lot’s 18 points from eight games and second place, is beyond comprehension?
Losing at home to an Arsenal side that thrashed Everton 6-2 just days earlier is hardly in the same ballpark as the Celtic team which, 63 years ago, was eliminated from the League Cup. “You can massage the stats all you want, but I am not having Arsenal and Dynamo thrown in,” Mowbray said, after his team handed over leadership of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League to Rangers. “We have drawn two league games at home, to Dundee United and Motherwell. The home form is fine.
“It is harsh to say we had a bad day. We are disappointed, as we had 24 shots on goal and 15 on target. Most weeks we would take that. We had chances that did not go in but this is the first league game this season where we have not scored and I don’t think there will be many this season.”
The fact that Jim Gannon also frustrated Rangers in similar fashion in a 0-0 draw at Fir Park last month illustrates Mowbray’s point. That was one of three successive goalless draws for the champions and Rangers’ subsequent recovery underlines that such occasions are hardly fatal to a team’s ambitions over 38 games.
The numbers that might be most alarming for Celtic are the thousands of fans who are staying away. The officially-listed crowd of 58,000 came into the “lies, damned lies and statistics” category and it would be more accurate to quantify the crowd at around 50,000. Admirable in any city in Europe, but alarming for a club whose season-ticket waiting list was closed a few years ago and 60,000 rolled up like clockwork.
The club can no longer guarantee on supporters’ money and may have to come up with more cut-price ticket schemes to tempt those lost fans back. At least Gordon Strachan — the most easily-used scapegoat of the Celtic disaffected — can no longer be used as an excuse.
Those who did come on Saturday were fractious, turning on Mowbray’s players with relative ease and that made Motherwell’s task much simpler, as they displayed impressive composure in passing and organisation. On the evidence of 180 minutes against the Old Firm, Gannon, Motherwell’s new manager, clearly possesses decent tactical awareness.
Part of the reason for the fifth-placed side’s resilience is John Ruddy. The on-loan goalkeeper from Everton produced another shutout and believes that Motherwell — among others — can keep pace with the Old Firm.
“We played Hibernian at home two weeks ago and they did to us what we did to Celtic,” Ruddy said. “They played us off the pitch. From what I have seen since coming here, Hibernian, Dundee United and Motherwell should all be capable of pressing the top two. Hibernian could split the Old Firm.
“This game stamped our mark on the Premier League and showed what we are capable of. However, playing Celtic and Rangers away are the biggest games for teams like us but we have to make sure we win when we play St Mirren or Hamilton. Points off the Old Firm are just a bonus.”
Ruddy’s loan spell at Fir Park ends in January but the goalkeeper is keen to extend that because he feels that Gannon is building something at Motherwell. “The manager is very methodical and knows what he wants and we have the foundations at the club to take on the top two. I am certainly keen to stay at Motherwell beyond this season.”
Celtic 0 Motherwell 0
By Ronnie Esplin, Press Association Sport
Click here for full match stats
Celtic surrendered their lead at the top of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League to Old Firm rivals Rangers after failing to break down Motherwell at Parkhead.
Rangers' win at St Johnstone earlier had taken the Ibrox side two points clear but the Hoops failed to respond in an afternoon of frustration in the east end of Glasgow.
Niall McGinn headed wide just before the break with the best chance of the first half but that only proceeded a catalogue of missed chances in the second period which led to the Hoops fans booing and jeering at the final whistle.
The first half did little to dispel the notion that Scottish football is in something of a crisis at the moment, characterised as it was by unforced errors, a lack of technique and poor finishing.
Celtic stuttered and stammered as they tried to move through the gears.
In the 10th minute midfielder Aiden McGeady easily skipped past Well right-back Yassin Moutaouakil inside the Motherwell box before firing his angled shot wide of the far post, moments before Georgios Samaras drove over from the edge of the box.
Meanwhile, Motherwell clocked up the corner count albeit with little threat to Artur Boruc's goal although in the 20th minute the Celtic keeper had to move smartly down to his right to save Chris Humphrey's shot from distance which had been deflected by Fir Park striker Lucas Jutkiewicz.
As the first half unfolded further, the standard of play, if anything, dropped.
With the game having nudged past the half-hour mark, McGinn finished off a driving run with a right-footed shot from just inside the box but that was saved with ease by Motherwell keeper John Ruddy.
Celtic skipper Stephen McManus was deservedly booked in the 34th minute for chopping down Jutkiewicz on the halfway line as the visitors threatened to break.
Two minutes from the break McGinn, though, missed a great chance, heading wide of the target from Samaras' pin-point cross.
Celtic stepped up the pace at the start of the second half but to no real effect.
Robson fired over from 30 yards to end one Celtic move while moments later McGinn drew a decent save from Ruddy with a low drive from 25 yards.
Motherwell were camped in their own half but in their first effort of the second period, Boruc had to concede a corner from Jutkiewicz's 20-yard shot which may have sneaked in at the post.
Shaun Maloney replaced Samaras in the 58th minute, the sarcastic cheers from a section of the Celtic support a reflection of their overall disgruntlement.
Scott McDonald made a yard of space for himself in the Motherwell box but slipped his effort wide of the far post.
The substitution of Barry Robson for Zheng Zhi elicited boos from the home fans, revealing the consensus that Robson had been one of their best performers but ignoring the fatigue factor.
Paddy McCourt was given a better reception from the Celtic fans when he replaced Mark Wilson in the 76th minute as the Hoops went all out for the opener.
The Parkhead side swarmed around the Motherwell goal, but continued to squander decent chances, McDonald heading over from close range in injury time and McGeady then heading wide from a similar position to cap a frustrating afternoon.
Celtic Boruc, Wilson (McCourt 76), Caldwell, McManus, Naylor,McGinn, Robson (Zhi 68), Brown, McGeady, McDonald,Samaras (Maloney 58).
Subs Not Used: Zaluska, Thompson, Crosas, Caddis.
Motherwell Ruddy, Moutaouakil, Saunders, Reynolds, Hammell,Humphrey (Halsman 73), Coke, Hateley, Forbes,Murphy (Jennings 87), Jutkiewicz (Sutton 82).
Subs Not Used: Kosiorowski, Craigan, Lasley, McHugh.
Ref: C Boyle (Scotland).
Celtic 0 - 0 MotherwellBy Colin Moffat
Celtic surrendered top spot in the Scottish Premier League as they failed to convert a host of chances against a lively Motherwell side.
Scott McDonald and Aiden McGeady were both guilty of missing close range headers in stoppage time.
McDonald had earlier seen a shot drift narrowly wide and visiting keeper John Ruddy enjoyed a good day.
Motherwell were always a threat and Lukas Jutkiewicz was twice denied by saves from Artur Boruc.
The result leaves Celtic a point behind Rangers and manager Tony Mowbray must be worried by his side's lack of cutting edge.
Motherwell have now managed to hold both sides of the Old Firm and can be proud of their organised and assured display at Celtic Park.
The home side were first to threaten when Niall McGinn did well to deliver a cross from the right and Georgio Samaras hit a sliding half-volley wide of the mark.
Celtic midfielder Aiden McGeady then went close with a fizzing angled effort and Samaras blazed over from 20 yards.
Motherwell enjoyed some good spells of possession and certainly were not afraid to get numbers forward in attack, where Chris Humphrey and Yassim Moutaouakil linked well on the right flank.
On 22 minutes, Celtic goalkeeper Artur Boruc had to get down smartly to keep out a Humphrey strike, which had been going wide until Jutkiewicz stretched out a leg to divert it with his studs.
Opposite number John Ruddy produced a great block to thwart Scott McDonald from close range, perhaps sparing the linesman's blushes after a poor-looking offside verdict against the striker.
Motherwell were almost caught out playing one too many passes at the back but McGinn could only find Ruddy with a tame shot after nicking the ball.
And the same player was guilty of a glaring miss when he headed horribly wide after a Samaras cross had picked him out 10 yards from goal.
The first half came to a close with Motherwell defending stoutly on the edge of their own penalty box and a Barry Robson strike was deflected wide.
Celtic made a strong start to the second period and Ruddy was at full-stretch to push away a rasping, angled drive from McGinn and the keeper had to tip over a header from Gary Caldwell from the resultant corner.
Jutkiewicz gave the home fans a fright with a long range dig that Boruc was slow getting down to as he scrambled the ball round the post.
The teenage striker, on loan from Everton, was then denied a clean strike inside the six yard by a combination of Boruc and Caldwell.
And Ross Forbes saw his cleanly struck volley take a deflection on its way narrowly wide after a good period of pressure from the visitors.
McDonald was a matter of inches away from finding the target when he did well to keep his feet inside the penalty box and place a shot beyond the diving Ruddy.
McGeady dragged a strike wide and substitute Shaun Maloney could only send in a tame effort after a neat passing exchange before Lee Naylor's blistering shot curled just off target.
Ruddy was kept busy in the closing stages, blocking from Maloney after he had spilled a corner before stopping a drilled effort from substitute Pat McCourt.
In injury time, McDonald and McGeady spurned the best chances of the match when both men missed with headers inside the six yard box.
Celtic manager Tony Mowbray:
"There's an overriding sense of frustration at the lack of quality in the final third. The final pass wasn't good enough.
"But I don't want to be too harsh since it's the first time we haven't scored in the league and it wasn't through lack of trying. We had a lot of shots on goal.
"At the end we were peppering their goal but it just wouldn't go in. We huffed and puffed and ultimately weren't good enough."
Motherwell manager Jim Gannon:
"The players should be proud of all they put into the game.
"We wanted to showcase the way we can play and at times we played some really good football.
"We didn't have much threat from open play but we gave ourselves a chance of winning the game.
"From set-plays we looked really dangerous."
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