Tuesday 27 September 2016

Onwards and upwards for Brendan Rodgers as Celtic steamroll Motherwell in Betfred Cup

Celtic 5 Motherwell 0

Ronnie Esplin

Published 10/08/2016 | 21:58

Celtic's Tom Rogic celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game with team-mates during the Betfred Cup match at Celtic Park, Glasgow. PRESS ASSOCIATION
Celtic's Tom Rogic celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game with team-mates during the Betfred Cup match at Celtic Park, Glasgow. PRESS ASSOCIATION

Moussa Dembele and Tom Rogic each scored twice as Celtic cruised into the quarter-finals of the Betfred Cup with a 5-0 thrashing of Motherwell at Parkhead.

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Brendan Rodgers' side hit top form with midfielder Rogic, who signed a new three-year deal on Tuesday, scoring with a drive in the 20th minute, before the French striker doubled the home side's lead from the spot 13 minutes later.

The Hoops rampaged for most of the second half and in the 61st minute new signing Scott Sinclair, who scored a debut winner off the bench against Hearts at Tynecastle on Sunday, grabbed his first goal on his first start.

Dembele notched his second with a drive through a ruck of players and all-action Rogic made it five from close range in 76 minutes as Motherwell toiled.

The Steelmen were demolished 7-0 in the Ladbrokes Premiership in their last visit to the east end of Glasgow on the final day of last season and it was a scoreline which could easily have been repeated had it not been for some poor finishing and good goalkeeping from Craig Samson.

Sinclair, Dembele and Callum McGregor had early drives saved by the former Kilmarnock keeper - and it was no surprise when the hosts took the lead.

A clever dink into the Well penalty box by McGregor found Rogic in space and he controlled the ball with one touch before rattling it high past Samson from 12 yards.

The home side kept driving forward.

In the 28th minute after a swift break led by Sinclair, Samson saved two left-footed efforts from Rogic, one either side of Dembele's shot which was deflected on to the bar by Motherwell defender Ben Heneghan.

Rogic had yet another left-footed drive punched clear by Samson but moments later the over-worked Fir Park keeper was beaten by Dembele's penalty after Well defender Richard Tait bundled Sinclair to the ground in the box for referee Kevin Clancy to point to the spot.

Samson then made a double save from Sinclair and another stop from Rogic before Marvin Johnson missed the far post from the edge of the box as Well tried to rally.

Normal service was resumed soon after the break with the Motherwell keeper saving a powerful Sinclair drive.

Dembele missed the target with another chance before Samson foiled Hoops skipper Scott Brown - but it was only a matter of time before the third arrived and it came just after the hour mark when Sinclair showed some fancy footwork in the box before curling the ball into the far corner.

Four minutes later, with the visiting defence in disarray, Dembele added a third when he fired in through a packed penalty area.

Rogic's second was a simple tap-in from a few yards after Samson had parried a drive from James Forrest, who had earlier in the day signed a new deal to keep him at the club until 2019, and it put the seal on what was a hugely impressive Hoops performance.

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