05.10.2013 18:50 h

Football: Celtic lead in Scotland for first time this season

Goals in either half from Anthony Stokes and Kris Commons handed Celtic a comfortable 2-0 win over Motherwell that sent them top of the Scottish Premiership for the first time this season.

Following defeats to Morton and Barcelona in their previous two run-outs at home, Neil Lennon's team were looking to avoid becoming the first Celtic side to lose three consecutive matches at Parkhead since 1990.

However, the record never looked to be in any danger against a Motherwell side that came to Celtic Park just three points behind their hosts on the back of a five-match unbeaten run.

Motherwell goalkeeper Lee Hollis had already flapped at a cross before his decision to come for -- and miss -- a loose ball in the box saw him hand Stokes a 21st minute opener.

A superb solo goal from Commons had Celtic on easy street in the 49th minute with Motherwell, who are without a win at Celtic Park since 2008, failing to muster a shot on target to test Fraser Forster until the keeper made a superb one-handed save to stop a John Sutton header with five minutes to go.

The win puts Celtic three points clear of Inverness Caledonian Thistle, who lost 4-0 at St Johnstone, at the top of the table with a game in hand over Terry Butcher's side.

There were problems for Motherwell from the start when keeper Hollis failed to deal with an early cross but the Motherwell defence did enough to stop Stokes, Teemu Pukki and Scott Brown from applying the finishing touch.

Celtic were dealt an injury blow after just 10 minutes when Adam Matthews was stretchered off to be replaced by James Forrest following a robust challenge from Motherwell's Keith Lasley in the box.

It was to be another mistake from Hollis that handed Celtic the lead in the 21st minute.

The keeper completely misjudged the bounce of the ball after Commons had headed on a Mikel Lustig cross and, with the keeper completely at sea, Stokes took a touch before drilling the ball into the far corner of the net.

It was a massive mistake from the 'keeper but he redeemed himself slightly on the half hour mark when he made a superb stop to deny Commons after Virgil van Dijk had played him through on goal.

Within four minutes of the restart Celtic doubled their advantage with a superb solo goal from Commons.

The forward went on a mazy run through the Motherwell defence, slipping the ball through the legs of Stephen McManus and skipping past Lasley before lifting the ball over the advancing keeper and into the net.

Forster was included in the England squad for next week's World Cup qualifying double header but it took until the hour mark for the big keeper to get a touch of the ball when he comfortably dealt with a cross-cum-shot from Zaine Francis-Angol.

The keeper, who had virtually nothing to do all game, showed his worth in the 85th minute when he made a superb one-handed save to deny a Sutton downward header after he connected with Angol's cross six yards out.

Elsewhere, Hearts went down 2-0 to St Mirren in a bottom of the table clash at Tynecastle, Dundee United defeated Kilmarnock 1-0 and Ross County had a 1-0 victory over Aberdeen.