Champions Celtic end season in style by hammering Motherwell
Champions Celtic celebrated trophy day with a merciless 6-0 mauling of Motherwell at Parkhead.
The Hoops clinched their 10th cinch Premiership title in 11 years at Dundee United on Wednesday night to ensure a party in the last game of the season, where a double from striker Kyogo Furuhashi and a goal in-between by former Well midfielder David Turnbull made it 3-0 at the break.
Second-half goals from Portuguese winger Jota and substitute Giorgos Giakoumakis, who netted a double, added to an afternoon of joyous celebrations.
There was more emotion as Nir Bitton and Tom Rogic said their goodbyes as they played their last games for the club after nine years of service and they were given a standing ovation in the sixth and 18th minutes respectively – their shirt numbers.
Ange Postecoglou, Premiership and League Cup winner in his first season in charge, has transformed a club from one which slipped 25 points behind Rangers last season to finishing four ahead of their great rivals.
Motherwell had already qualified for the Europa Conference League qualifiers but they will want to forget this game in a hurry.
Australia midfielder Rogic started the game to the approval of the excited home support as Jota, Furuhashi, Daizen Maeda and Turnbull also came back into the side with Israel international Bitton on the bench.
Well boss Graham Alexander made two changes with Bevis Mugabi and Victor Nirennold, in for his first start since signing in January, replacing Liam Donnelly and Juhani Ojala.
It seemed only a matter of time until Celtic got the breakthrough and it came following a mistake by Nirennold in the 22nd minute.
The French defender miskicked a deep corner from Jota inside the box and Furuhashi wasted no time in turning and rifling a low drive past Well keeper Liam Kelly at his near post.
In the 32nd minute, as Motherwell retreated from a rare attack, Jota’s cross from the left was met by the sliding Rogic whose shot rebounded off the post with the offside flag going up for lurking Hoops striker Maeda.
Celtic then had a minute or so of slackness.
Joe Efford set up Dean Cornelius but his unconvincing shot from 16 yards went well wide.
The home side imposed themselves again and scored twice before the break.
Turnbull combined with Maeda, turned defender Rickie Lamie and shot past Kelly from 12 yards before Furuhashi then volleyed in a perfectly-weighted pass from Anthony Ralston with trademark technique.
Motherwell had to regroup at the interval and striker Kevin Van Veen replaced Sean Goss but it made no difference.
In the 59th minute, after Furuhashi’s pass to Maeda bounced off his fellow Japan international, Jota latched onto a loose ball to sweep it past Kelly.
Then, amid a slew of substitutions, Rogic was given a standing ovation from the fans and embraced by his team-mates as he went off for the last time and he was clearly overcome by emotion.
Celtic kept going and in the 68th minute the Steelmen’s defence allowed Giakoumakis to execute an overhead kick from six yards.
There were more cheers in the 85th minute when Bitton took over from captain Callum McGregor and he enjoyed his final moments in a green and white shirt, with Giakoumakis bundling in number six from close range in added time.
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