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Jeff Holmes Odsonne Edouard celebrates scoring Celtic's second goal.
# Hat-trick Hero
Celtic blitz Motherwell as on loan French teenager scores brilliant hat-trick
Celtic met Motherwell for the third time since last Saturday, maintaining their place at the top of the Scottish Premiership with a four goal win.

FRENCH TEENAGER ODSONNE Edouard scored a hat-trick as a much-changed Celtic warmed up for their Champions League clash against Anderlecht by thrashing Motherwell 5-1.

With one eye on Tuesday’s crunch tie, when Celtic could secure a place in the Europa League, manager Brendan Rodgers fielded a side packed with fringe players for the third meeting in a week between the sides.

And 19-year-old Edouard, making just his third start since joining on-loan from Paris Saint-Germain in August, grabbed his chance to shine as he fired home a 16th-minute opener before adding a second just after the half-hour mark.

Motherwell, who looked a pale imitation of the side that had come so close to ending Celtic’s long unbeaten run on Wednesday, pulled one back through substitute Elliott Frear midway through the second half but Celtic substitute James Forrest restored their two-goal cushion 10 minutes later.

Edouard took advantage of a defensive mistake five minutes from the end to seal his hat-trick, with Forrest completing the rout three minutes later to extend Celtic’s unbeaten domestic run to 67 matches.

Rodgers was delighted with Eduoard’s performance.

“I just felt today we needed more mobility at the top of the field and he’s been very good in training,” Rodgers said. “It was as good a performance as you’ll see. For a young player of that age he has everything in his game.”

Victory sends Celtic seven points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership ahead of Sunday’s clash at Pittodrie between second-placed Aberdeen and Rangers, who were pushed down to fourth by Hibernian who won 1-0 against Partick Thistle.

Celtic v Motherwell - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership - Celtic Park Jeff Holmes Edouard scored a hat-trick against Motherwell. Jeff Holmes

At Celtic Park, Edouard, making his first start since the end of September, was one of six changes for the hosts.

And the French under-19 international did not take long to show his manager what he can do as he bundled home Scott Sinclair’s cross for the opener.

It was the French striker’s first goal since his debut in early September but he only had to wait a few minutes to add to his tally. Australian international Tom Rogic slipped Edouard a pass 30 yards out and he raced to the edge of the box before drilling a low right-foot shot into the bottom corner.

It was one-way traffic but a lapse in the Celtic defence allowed Motherwell to pull one back when Frear burst into the box and snuck behind the Hoops defence to prod Richard Tait’s cross beyond Craig Gordon.

Rodgers immediately brought on Forrest and the substitute quickly increased Celtic’s lead, controlling cutting in from the edge of the box and sending a low angled shot into the bottom corner.

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Edouard then took advantage of a slack header back from Motherwell’s Tait to nip in and slot through the legs of Trevor Carson. Forrest’s late stunning shot finishing the scoring.

“The game was effectively over at half-time,” Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson said.

“As well as outplaying us they outfought us, which was the biggest disappointment of the game.”

© AFP 2017

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