Fortune favours Celtic
Super-sub makes instant impact at Motherwell
By Rob Parrish. Last Updated: 13/12/09 11:43am
Fortune: Celtic hero
Marc-Antoine Fortune stepped off the bench to fire Celtic to victory at Motherwell in a thrilling Scottish Premier League encounter at Fir Park.
The summer signing from Nancy has come under fire from Bhoys fans this term but silenced his critics with a stunning strike just 56 seconds after joining the action.
Fortune's blistering effort into the top corner 11 minutes from time gave Tony Mowbray's men an important three points as a combination of poor finishing and excellent goalkeeping by John Ruddy threatened to frustrate them in foggy Lanarkshire.
Barry Robson will have been particularly relieved to see the French forward find the net after earlier seeing his penalty saved by Ruddy, with referee Charlie Richmond penalising Steven Saunders for hauling down Georgios Samaras - one of three strong penalty appeals for the visitors.
Samaras, who saw an early effort crash back off the crossbar, had showed power, pace and skill to evade three Motherwell defenders before advancing into the box and drilling his shot beyond Ruddy in the 14th minute.
But a terrible blunder by Artur Boruc allowed the home side to equalise as he completely misjudged Robert McHugh's excellent cross, allowing Lukas Jutkiewicz to poke home into an unguarded net.
And on the stroke of half-time Andreas Hinkel switched off with Mark Reynolds sneaking in behind the Celtic defence to volley home Tom Hateley's clever clipped free-kick towards the far post.
Mowbray clearly had strong words with his men at the interval and they took the game by the scruff of the neck after the break.
Aiden McGeady needed just seven minutes to get the Bhoys back on terms as he showed superb composure to step away from the Motherwell defence and curl an outstanding left foot effort into Ruddy's top corner.
The victory extends Celtic's advantage over Rangers at the SPL summit to five points, but the defending champions have two games in hand on their fierce rivals.