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Celtic march on in Premiership cakewalk

Press Association logoPress Association 18/02/2017 Ronnie Esplin

Celtic extended their unbeaten domestic run since the start of the season to 31 games with a comfortable 2-0 win over Motherwell at Parkhead.

After early huffing and puffing striker Moussa Dembele, who had scored hat-tricks in his previous two outings, opened the scoring from the spot in the 33rd minute with his 27th goal of the season.

Midfielder James Forrest added a second five minutes from the interval and after a similarly one-sided second-half ended with no more goals, Brendan Rodgers' side moved back 27 points clear of Aberdeen who play at Kilmarnock on Sunday.

Celtic have only dropped two points - away at Inverness, who drew 1-1 with Hearts on Saturday - this season and even far from their best they look as if they will take some beating as they motor towards the domestic treble.

Rodgers made only one change to the side which beat Inverness 6-0 last week with stopper Jozo Simunovic in for Erik Sviatchenko who dropped to the bench, joined by midfielder Stuart Armstrong who returned from a hamstring injury.

The Hoops had the overwhelming majority of possession but their first chance did not arrive until the 24th minute when midfielder Liam Henderson knocked the ball past the post from eight yards, after Motherwell goalkeeper Craig Samson had parried an angled drive from Forrest.

However, all Motherwell's good defensive work was undone by a tackle by Zak Jules on Dembele, which allowed the former Fulham forward to open his account for the afternoon by sending Samson the wrong way.

In a quickfire response, Motherwell striker Louis Moult reached a Chris Cadden cross but his back-post header went behind and then Parkhead keeper Craig Gordon had to make a good save from a close-range effort by Stephen Pearson after he had been set up by Moult.

However, that turned out to be only a moment of defiance and Forrest, after taking a Dembele pass, made it 2-0 when he turned Chalmers inside out before drilling a shot from 16 yards past Samson and in at the far corner.

Elsewhere, Partick Thistle had a 2-0 home win over Hamilton and St. Johnstone won 2-1 at Ross County.

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