A blistering 3-0 win over Rangers on Wednesday has lifted Celtic to the summit and although only a single point separates the sides, the gulf in the levels of performance leaves the impression that the Hoops should go on and lift the title.
A number of players being absent hasn’t hindered their momentum at all, but although David Turnbull remains unavailable and there are doubts surrounding key striker Kyogo Furuhashi, Callum McGregor returned last time out and the likes of Daizen Maeda and Tom Rogic are back from international duty.
Ange Postecoglou’s side are now a hugely impressive W21-D2-L1 across all competitions since the start of October, as only a trip to Leverkusen yielded a defeat. In the league alone, they’ve won 15 of 17 unbeaten matches and it’s hard to imagine them slipping up against a Motherwell side that have disappointed since the turn of the year.
So far in 2021, Graham Alexander’s team have drawn games with Hibernian and St. Mirren, while losing to Ross County and Hearts. They did manage an extra-time victory over Championship strugglers Greenock Morton in the Scottish Cup,
Motherwell have registered just two clean sheets in nine appearances across all competitions since the start of December, which has to be a concern ahead of welcoming the division’s highest scorers.
In fact, Celtic have won each of the last 10 meetings with Motherwell and scored at least twice in all but one of these. Eight of them saw them take the spoils by a minimum two-goal margin, and by at least three clear goals in three of four away trips over this period.
Having said that, Celtic’s dominant win over Rangers midweek was unusual in that they had only won by more thana single goal in two of their previous 10 matches in all competitions.
However, they have made a number of fast stats, and in the league alone they’ve opened the scoring inside half an hour in four of five games since Christmas, and inside 10 minutes in three of these.
Celtic have led at both half time and full time in eight of their past 10 league games, and it would be a surprise if they couldn’t repeat that here having done so in each of their last 10 head-to-heads with Motherwell.
In fact, the hosts have trailed at the break in all but one of their nine league defeats this season, including each of the past eight.