MOTHERWELL fans have enjoyed many a special moment provided by David Turnbull at Fir Park, and even they may have to grudgingly applaud what he pulled out of the bag when back on familiar ground with Celtic.

The midfielder produced a stunning effort here to put the game beyond his boyhood club early in the second half with Celtic already a goal to the good through Joao Jota, a shot from range with his right foot that home keeper Liam Kelly could only watch an admire as it swerved and dipped into his top left-hand corner.

The 22-year-old didn’t celebrate out of deference to the club where he came through the ranks, but his goal spoke for itself in any case.

It was anything but a dull afternoon in Lanarkshire – on the park, anyway – even though there was only two moments of real quality on show. Those proved pivotal, with Turnbull’s strike and Tom Rogic’s sumptuous through ball for Jota to open the scoring enough to give Celtic the three points they deserved for their domination of the ball.

There was even the novelty of seeing the referee going off injured, and the fact it was panto villain Willie Collum just made it all the more enjoyable for both sets of supporters, who seemed to agree that he may have been born out of wedlock.

Collum may have only been on the pitch at Fir Park for half an hour, but it was enough time for the intrepid whistler to thoroughly annoy most of the stadium and Motherwell manager Graham Alexander in particular.

Celtic Way: Ange Postecoglou on the sidelinesAnge Postecoglou on the sidelines

The source of the home side’s ire was the manner in which Celtic won possession to get the opening goal after what had been a fairly even opening with chances at both ends.

Kyogo Furuhashi tracked back to challenge Callum Slattery in the midfield, with the Motherwell players and fans howling for a free-kick as the forward came away with the ball and left the home midfielder prone. Referee Collum waved play on, and Celtic swept the ball to Rogic.

The midfielder had time to measure a pass, and caught Stephen O’Donnell sleeping to find Jota haring in behind on the Celtic left. The winger took a touch and then fired past Kelly at his near post.

Celtic asserted their dominance thereafter, with the home side camped in their box for long spells and struggling to make much of an impact on Joe Hart’s goal.

Indeed, the best route back into the game for Motherwell before the interval seemed to be when Celtic took it upon themselves to play it between Hart and his two centre-backs, with the trio appearing to be juggling the proverbial hot tatty at times.

The second half started quietly, but the game was soon rocked out of its torpor by that moment of brilliance from Turnbull. There didn’t appear to be a lot on when he  picked up the ball 30 yards from goal, but of all people, surely the men in claret and amber should have known what might happen if they didn’t close him down sharply.

They didn’t, and they paid a hefty price.

Celtic Way: The Celtic players come out of the standThe Celtic players come out of the stand

There was no way Kelly could have got a hand to it, but the lesser-spotted Boli Bolingoli seemed to at the other end as Motherwell substitute Kevin van Veen flicked the ball up in the box. Replacement referee Chris Fordyce, who had started the day as fourth official, not exactly endearing himself to the locals either s he waved play on.

It seemed a perfect opportunity for Ange Postecoglou to give Giorgos Giakoumakis some much needed game time with his side two ahead, and the Celtic manager did just that with 20 minutes or so to go. The Greek striker had one decent chance, but decided to square from a narrow angle instead of trying to slide it past Kelly, who had closed him down well.

When news of a Hearts equaliser at Ibrox filtered through, the nose from the away end rivalled anything that had greeted either Celtic goal, and capped off a hugely pleasing afternoon for Postecoglou and his men as they backed up their win at Pittodrie before the international break with another triumph on potentially tricky territory.

There are still huge question marks about their defence, and the suitability of their defenders to play the sort of football that their manager demands of them. But they may just have enough at the other end to make up for it.

As for Motherwell, they may well be disappointed with their showing, failing to make much of an impression on the contest after Jota’s opener for the visitors. Manager Alexander may rue his decision to replace the energy of Mark O’Hara in his midfield, which presumably would have been an asset on an afternoon such as this, for Sean Goss to make his first start for the club. The hosts never had the ball enough for him to make an impact, and Celtic controlled the middle of the park as a result.

They may well have in any case. And they may well have won this with enough to spare to ensure they are still fresh even for their Tuesday afternoon Europa League meeting with Ferencvaros.