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Stokes: I went for the goal

ANTHONY STOKES won't entertain anyone questioning his goal against Motherwell on Saturday.

With Celtic trailing 2-0 and having had a Kris Commons penalty saved by Gunnar Nielsen it was looking bleak for the Hoops when Stokes carved out some space in the Motherwell penalty box in the final minute of the first half.

Looking up, the striker saw three defenders between him and Georgios Samaras and decided to flick the ball high and goalwards and looked on in delighted as it dipped under the crossbar and into the net.

"I went for goal but it's one of those one in a thousand efforts," he admitted. "I didn't really have much on, I couldn't cut it back so I went for it and it dropped in. I wouldn't say it was lucky, I'll take it as a good finish.

"Our second-half performance showed that the desire is still there, in the first half we lost out to defensive errors which has been very uncommon for us this season. We fought back well and were disappointed not to get full points; we got in front then lost a goal right at the end."

First half goals from John Sutton and Zaine Francis-Angol looked like giving Motherwell full points with the Celtic defence in holiday mode.

Stokes teed-up Samaras for an equaliser in the 56th minute with substitute Leigh Griffiths putting Celtic in front in the 86th minute but another defensive howler allowed Sutton, brother of former Celtic striker Chris, to earn Motherwell a point with a 90th-minute equaliser.

Having gone more than 1,000 minutes without losing a goal earlier in the season Neil Lennon was far from happy with his side's defending as Motherwell joined AC Milan and Barcelona as the only teams to have scored more than twice against Celtic this season.

Lennon's thoughts are already on the summer transfer market and Champions League qualifiers but with four games left to play he won't let his players switch into holiday mode.

"I thought defensively in the first-half we were very poor," the Celtic manager admitted. "We gifted Motherwell two goals.


"I wasn't happy and sent them out early. We were going through the motions and that's not what I expect from the team even though psychologically the league's won.

"We have an obligation to the supporters who are here and I thought I got the exact response I was looking for.

"The first goal's poor, a straight ball over the top, no cover, and I think Fraser Forster should save it. The second we've missed the flight of the ball at a cross and not defended that properly.

"We gifted them two goals really, Motherwell didn't really have to work for them. Second half was more like us, a lot better. Great attacking intent and good quality and good goals as well."