Jonathan Obika’s last-gasp equaliser earns Motherwell point at Celtic

Jonathan Obika headed an equaliser amid more late drama between Motherwell and Celtic as the champions were held to a 1-1 home draw.

Substitute David Turnbull opened the scoring for the cinch Premiership leaders with an 86th-minute penalty, but the visitors stunned Celtic Park in the 90th minute when Obika glanced home Blair Spittal’s corner.

Luis Palma earlier had a penalty saved by Liam Kelly as Celtic struggled to break down a dogged Motherwell side, who restricted their hosts to few chances, although Yang Hyun-jun missed a sitter as Brendan Rodgers’ men dominated the majority of the second half.

Motherwell survived 10 minutes of stoppage time to get their second draw in succession at Parkhead and only a third point in their last 10 matches.

Stuart Kettlewell’s side also came within seconds of getting a point against Celtic at Fir Park during that run, only for Matt O’Riley to net moments after Spittal had equalised.

Celtic only made one change from the side that beat Aberdeen 6-0, with Anthony Ralston coming in for Canada right-back Alistair Johnston, while Motherwell lined up with Calum Butcher in midfield ahead of a three-man central defence, with Mika Biereth up front on his own.

Kelly made two good stops early on, from O’Riley’s first-time strike and a header from team-mate Stephen O’Donnell as he defended Palma’s inswinging corner.

The visitors generally protected Kelly for the majority of the first period, though, and grew in confidence towards the end of the half.

O’Donnell had an effort cleared from the goalmouth by Cameron Carter-Vickers, with Joe Hart stranded after a ball over the top, before Dan Casey fired over from the loose ball.

The Celtic goalkeeper then produced a diving parry from Harry Paton’s well-struck effort from 20 yards.

Rodgers decided a half-time change was needed and brought on striker Oh Hyeon-gyu for midfielder Odin Thiago Holm, although Kyogo Furuhashi dropped deeper as a result.

After a scrappy start to the second half, Furuhashi sparked the move that led to Celtic’s first penalty in the 66th minute when he won the ball on the halfway line and drove forward before releasing Palma.

The winger’s low delivery was nearly turned into his own net by Bevis Mugabi, only for Kelly to save, and the defender’s sliding challenge brought down Oh as the South Korean prepared to convert the rebound.

Mugabi escaped with a yellow card from Steven McLean after making a genuine attempt to play the ball and Motherwell survived the spot-kick after Kelly dived to his right to stop Palma’s effort after the Honduran had halted his run-up.

Palma had scored from the spot against Aberdeen but became the third Celtic player to miss a penalty this season following Reo Hatate and Turnbull.

Celtic brought on Turnbull and Mikey Johnston in the immediate aftermath of the miss.

It was one-way traffic now and Johnston set up a glorious chance for Yang as the South Korean ran into the middle to meet the winger’s cross. However, he sent his free header wide of a post.

Liam Scales soon came close with a more difficult header as his effort drifted wide of the far post from Turnbull’s corner, but the danger was not over for Motherwell as replays showed Butcher had held back Johnston as he followed in the header.

McLean pointed to the spot after taking a look at the incident on the monitor.

With Palma off, Turnbull stepped up and dispatched the ball right into the bottom corner for his seventh goal of the season.

Kettlewell immediately brought on two strikers to join fellow substitute Obika up front and the extra bodies paid dividends as they won a corner which sparked the equaliser from their only second-half effort at goal.


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