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Motherwell survive Kipre red card to hold Celtic

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    Cedric Kipre was adjudged to have kicked out at Scott Brown

    Battling Motherwell secured a fine draw with Premiership leaders Celtic despite having defender Cedric Kipre sent off in the first half.

    The home side had the better of the early chances, with Curtis Main twice forcing good saves from Scott Bain.

    But Kipre was sent off four minutes before the break for reacting to a push from Celtic captain Scott Brown.

    Celtic dominated thereafter, but excellent defending and good saves from goalkeeper Trevor Carson denied them.

    The draw was enough to extend Celtic’s lead over Rangers at the top of the table to 10 points – and their unbeaten run at Fir Park to nine visits.

    Kilmarnock, though, are the biggest beneficiaries of Motherwell’s failure to secure a first win in 10 meetings with the Glasgow side since December 2015.

    It means Steve Clarke’s fifth-placed side have secured a spot in the top six before the Premiership splits into two for the final rounds of fixtures.

    Celtic started brightly without seriously stretching Well, but the home side became increasingly influential as the first half wore on.

    Chris Cadden tested Bain from long distance, but the shot was comfortably held.

    Elliot Frear produced a searching cross that Main nodded towards goal, but Bain saved again when more power in the header might have broken the deadlock.

    Ryan Bowman was next with a drilled effort, but again the shot lacked the direction to trouble Bain. It was increasingly encouraging for Motherwell.

    Tom Rogic was at the heart of most of Celtic’s best moments; the Australia midfielder showed tremendous poise and balance to create space on the edge of the box but curled his shot narrowly off target.

    Motherwell goalkeeper Trevor Carson (right) produced a couple of fine saves

    Dedryck Boyata looked uncertain at times again in the opening half and, when the Belgian defender conceded a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area, Main drilled it towards goal, but the composed Bain had his angles correct and tipped it wide.

    Rogic sent James Forrest on his way, but the winger’s angled shot was blocked by Carson, his first direct shot to deal with.

    Motherwell seemed to have Celtic’s measure, but the game changed completely after a clash between Brown and Kipre, who was also sent off against Celtic in November’s League Cup final.

    The Celtic captain won the ball but shoved the centre-half as he rose from the ground. Kipre’s response was naive and, after he kicked out, he was duly ordered off to the fury of the Motherwell bench.

    From there, it seemed all about the visitors finding a route to the crucial opening goal.

    Carson did well to save a Rogic drive, Moussa Dembele sent a header narrowly over and substitute Patrick Roberts cut inside and fired a shot off the top of the crossbar.

    Stuart Armstrong’s curling effort towards the far post had Carson beaten but the ball crept inches wide.

    The was still time for more drama. Main claimed penalty, appeals that were ignored.

    Celtic broke at speed, with Scott Sinclair in on Carson, but the goalkeeper saved superbly, with the frustrated Dembele waiting in the centre for a pass from the winger.

    The goalkeeper – a January transfer target for Celtic, who has been called into the Northern Ireland squad – again reacted in the last seconds to tip over Dembele’s downward header.

    View the original article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/43361351

    Motherwell resembled a boxer hanging out for a decision on points, but they stood firm to frustrate the league leaders and earn a valuable point.

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