Can Celtic pick themselves off the floor following Wednesday night’s embarrassing exit from the Champions League qualifiers? They have little choice but to put it behind them if they want to claim a record tenth title in-a-row.
Neil Lennon’s men will have inspired little confidence so far that they are up to the job this season though.
After a convincing home win against Hamilton aside, they have been lacklustre and short of ideas up front and, as their performance against Ferencvaros indicated, they are coughing up chances at an unacceptable rate.
A home fixture against a Motherwell side that has yet to record a league win this season represents the ideal opportunity for The Bhoys to put Wednesday night’s disappointment behind them.
Motherwell have been truly shambolic in the opening days of the season, compounding their dreadful start by losing at home to lowly Hamilton – a side that had failed to register a point prior to their trip to Fir Park.
Celtic should win this though, and should do so convincingly.
A significant factor in Celtic’s sluggish start has been the absence of Odsonne Edouard’s goals so far this season.
The French striker hit the ground running with a hat-trick in the opening day victory over Hamilton, but has only found the back of the net once since – the fifth goal in a 6-0 win over KR Reykjavik.
Edouard missed Celtic’s mid-week humbling through injury and his future at the club has been cast into doubt with rumours of his departure. He is not, therefore, guaranteed to start on Sunday and Celtic may have to look elsewhere for potential goalscorers.
Looking beyond Celtic’s talisman, Ryan Christie finished as the club’s second best goalscorer last season, albeit far behind Edouard. However, the Scottish midfielder has already found the back of the net in two crucial games this season and will hope to boost his tally in what should be a comfortable home win.
Celtic should create plenty of chances on Sunday, but the evidence so far this season suggests that they will also offer Motherwell plenty of openings at the other end.
The defending for Ferencvaros’ winner, for instance, was particularly embarrassing and is part of a wider trend of worrying defensive moments.
Neil Lennon even suggested earlier in the season that some of his defensive players needed time to settle and that has been apparent in Celtic’s short season so far.
Even in their last league outing against Dundee United – when they recorded a clean sheet – The Bhoys looked shaky at the back, and Motherwell will almost certainly create chances this Sunday. It’s just a matter of taking them.
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