In a relatively poor performance by the league-leaders, Gary Hooper's goal in the 59th minute was enough to beat the visitors, who never really threatened.

Motherwell, who are third in the league, only took two shots for the match and when Hooper controlled Georgios Samaras' knock-down to score his 20th goal of the season, it was clear Celtic would win for the 23rd time this season.

Celtic are now on 74 points, 23 ahead of local rivals Rangers on 51.

St Johnstone strengthened their hopes of a Europa League spot with a 3-1 win over bottom club Dunfermline.

Murray Davidson, Callum Davidson and Lee Croft scored for St. Johnstone as they moved above Hearts into fourth spot, the second of the Europa League qualification berths in Scotland.

Dundee United are two points behind St Johnstone in fifth after beating Hearts 2-0 to also climb above Paulo Sergio's men.

Hibernian clinched a crucial win in their quest to avoid relegation, with a 3-1 victory away to Kilmarnock, while St Mirren and Aberdeen drew 1-1.