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Aberdeen 1 - 3 Celtic

HT Score: Aberdeen 1 - 3 Celtic

Scottish Premiership
Aberdeen scorers: Hayes 12.
Celtic scorers: D Boyata 3, S Armstrong 8, L Griffiths 11.

12/05/2017 | KO: 19:45

Spirited Performance, But No Reward

Derek McInnes added Jayden Stockley and Anthony O'Connor to the starting XI in place of Adam Rooney and the injured Peter Pawlett. Rooney dropped to the bench, with the manager opting for Jayden's height and strength up front.

Brendan Rodgers, looking to keep Celtic's season long unbeaten run going, named a strong team to start what would be the visitor's most challenging test of the post-split fixtures.

Celtic made the first serious move of the game with Patrick Roberts beating Andy Considine in the penalty area. Lewis made a good save from close range pushing the ball out for a corner. Leigh Griffiths delivered a good cross and Boyata, who had rolled away from Taylor, headed the ball down into the net. It was the perfect start for the Hoops and a massive early blow for the Dons.

Things were about to get worse.

No more than 10 minutes had been played when the visitors doubled their lead when McGregor drove a shot at goal. Logan made a block but Armstrong reacted well and flicked the ball into the roof of the net. A nightmare start for Aberdeen.

A nightmare turned out to be a disaster a minute later when Leigh Griffiths tried a 25 yard long shot from the left hand side. Lewis got his gloves on the ball but in the end helped it nestle in the bottom corner. There was a lot of movement on the ball but Lewis will be disappointed not to keep the ball out. All four sides of Pittodrie looked shell shocked.

When things looked hopeless, it was Jonny Hayes who gave the Dons hope. And what a goal it was, as the winger weaved his way through the green and white shirts around him and curled a peach of a strike into the top left hand corner. A lifeline, in what had been a frantic start to the game.

All of a sudden it looked like a much more familiar Dons side. Jayden Stockley was so close to making it 3-2 after McLean crossed from deep. Jayden could only head wide with the goal at his mercy. The striker will know himself that he should have scored. It was beginning to look more like a game of basketball with end to end football on show.

The game then settled down with Aberdeen's energy levels rising significantly. The teams were evenly match and were putting on a great spectacle.

Hayes tested Gordon again after 20 minutes, with the Scotland international getting down well at the near post. Shinnie added to the pressure with a set shot from outside the box with his weaker right foot, which he maybe should have hit first time.

The Dons were playing well and causing Celtic problems.

After half an hour, Niall McGinn came close when his shot was saved by Gordon. From close range the keeper made and an instinctive save. It was another great chance. Niall did win a corner as a result which was headed into the side netting by Ash Taylor.

Every man in red was giving everything to the cause. Defensively the Dons looked determined and Mark Reynolds led by example making a number of crucial blocks inside the box. Kenny McLean also did very well to deny Armstrong a second goal.

Despite being under pressure Celtic continued to look threatening on the break. Boyata was also proving to be a menace from corners and nearly added to his tally a couple of times as half time approached. At the other end, the visitors were beginning to make mistakes at the back, and Kenny McLean nearly exploited an error by Simunovic. His curled left footed shot slipped wide of the target.

A Dons free kick into the box was cleared after 43 minutes, unconvincingly, but Celtic had a three on one. The ball was worked to Sinclair who took a good first touch and raced through on goal but the PFA Player of the Year was denied by the tracking back of Jonny Hayes who had sprinted the full length of the pitch. It was an outstanding tackle. Jonny was putting in an incredible shift all over the park. Aberdeen had one more effort on the stroke of half time, but the free kick didn't trouble Craig Gordon.

It had been a bizarre opening half for Aberdeen, but the character was oozing out of the team, with a comeback looking possible.

HALF TIME: Aberdeen 1-3 Celtic

The second period got underway at the same pace that the first half ended. Shinnie chased won a lost cause in the corner and gave it to Considine. He fizzed a low cross into the box which was too strong for McGinn.

After 48 minutes, a real controversial moment. More Aberdeen pressure had seen a Logan shot blocked and then when the ball came back out Graeme Shinnie burst through before being taken out by Craig Gordon inside the box. Shinnie clearly got to the ball first. It looked like a stonewall penalty, but referee Steven McLean ruled otherwise. His assistant referee would also have had a very good view of the incident.

It was a massive moment in the game. The same player Aberdeen had a penalty claim turned down late on when the sides met earlier at Pittodrie.

52 minutes in, Aberdeen were scrambling for the ball inside the box. O'Connor managed to get a shot away but the flag was up.

Just after an hour, Adam Rooney came on to try and help the Dons back into the game. Jayden Stockley made way. The big striker caused the Celtic defence problems. Adam's first job was to try and convert a corner, which Simunovic just turned over his own bar.

The ball then made its way up the park, with Patrick Robert going for a run into the box. O'Connor did well to stop the cross and managed to get the ball out for a corner. Griffiths aimed for Boyata, but some good defending put enough pressure on him to keep the Belgian at bay.

The Dons had yet another chance to cut the deficit when Kenny McLean was played in on goal on the left hand side. It was a great ball through by Shinnie on the inside left. Kenny made up the ground and looked to slide the ball low into the corner. Unfortunately, he lashed a shot into the Richard Donald Stand. Another good opportunity squandered.

The game became scrappy with 20 minutes to go, with plenty of tackle and pressing from both sides. The tempo of Aberdeen's play meant there were some heavy legs all over the pitch.

With 80 minutes on the clock Niall McGinn tried a snap shot inside the box. He was in space was looked like he was going to burst the net, sadly his volley was just too high and resulted in a goal kick.

With Ash Taylor pushed up front to try and cause trouble in the Celtic defence, every ball was launched forward. It was really the only time the Dons had gone long. Sadly the visitors weren't giving anything away and were have to run the clock down.

As Aberdeen pushed players forward substitute James Forrest had a couple of shots on target which Lewis palmed away.

In the third minute of added time history was made when Dean Campbell became the youngest ever Aberdeen player. He was a couple of weeks younger than Jack Grimmer who held the record. The midfield sat an English exam at school this morning.

It finished 3-1, and while the score line looks like a comfortable victory for Celtic on paper, it was anything but. The Aberdeen players got a standing ovation for the effort they put in. The Celtic players coming off the pitch knew they had been in the game.
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Lewis, Logan, Shinnie, Considine, Taylor, Reynolds (Wright 89), McLean, McGinn (Campbell 90), Hayes, O'Connor, Stockley (Rooney 63).

Unused Subs: Ross, Ross, Storey, Alexander.

Bookings:  Shinnie (85),  Logan (89).
Celtic Teamsheet
01.Craig Gordon, 05.Jozo Simunovic, 20.Dedryck Boyata 23.Carl Mikael Lustig (28.Erik Sviatchenko 78), 63.Kieran Tierney, 11.Scott Sinclair, 14.Stuart Armstrong, 18.Tomas Rogic (06.Nir Bitton 56), 27.Patrick Roberts, 42.Callum McGregor, 09.Leigh Griffiths (49.James Forrest 71). Unused Subs: 02.Kolo Touré, 12.Cristian Gamboa, 24.Dorus de Vries, 88.Eboue Kouassi.

Bookings:  63.Kieran Tierney (54),   09.Leigh Griffiths (72).
Attendance: 16,015
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Referee: Steven McLean
Next Match
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20 Jul 2024 / 15:00 / K-Park Training Academy, East Kilbride