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Celtic 2 - 0 Aberdeen

HT Score: Celtic 1 - 0 Aberdeen

Scottish Premier Reserve League
Celtic scorers: Arzani 33, Henderson 80

17/09/2018 | KO: 14:00

The young Dons travelled to Greenock looking to maintain their 100% start to the Reserve League campaign. Opponents Celtic lost 3-0 at Hamilton in their last outing and currently lie in twelfth place in the table.
Tomas Cerny was in goal behind a back four of Miko Virtanen, Conor Power, Jordan McGregor and Jack MacKenzie. Skipper Dean Campbell and Morgan Brown were paired in midfield with Connor McLennan and Chris Antoniazzi on the flanks supporting front men David Dangana and Bruce Anderson.

The home side were first to threaten on four minutes when Morgan found space twenty yards out, but his right-footed shot flew harmlessly high and wide. Three minutes later fine long ball from McGregor found McLennan who cut in from the left and fired a curling effort just wide of the keeper's left-hand post.
It was a bright opening to the game from two sides who both wanted to get the ball down and pass it around.
A good break out of defence from Duffy almost created an opening for Celtic but Cerny was alert to the danger and claimed the cross comfortably.
On 17 minutes Morgan cut in from the right and tried his luck again from outside the box, but his low drive slid wide. A dangerous ball from Church created danger in front of the Dons goal but a timely clearance from MacKenzie saved the day. Young Aussie star Arzani was proving to be a handful on the Celtic left but when he had a sight of goal he fired wildly over.
A nice move down the right from the Dons saw Virtanen cut the ball back for Campbell, but his right-foot shot was just past the post with Mullen beaten.
Great footwork from Oko-flex gave the home striker a glimpse of goal but he shot straight at Cerny. On 28 minutes a delightful ball from Dangana picked out the run of Virtanen who picked out Anderson in the box, but the home defence closed ranks and blocked Bruce's shot to safety.
Celtic were enjoying more possession, but Aberdeen were defending well as a unit while also posing a real threat when they broke into the home team's final third. The deadlock was broken in spectacular fashion on 33 minutes. Celtic won a fortuitous free-kick on the left edge of the Dons box and Arzani curled a brilliant shot beyond the reach of a diving Cerny to make it 1-0.
The Dons were being pinned back as Celtic pushed forward and a dazzling run along the bye-line by Arzani saw him wriggle clear of a posse of defenders before Cerny grabbed the ball.
McGregor was injured after clearing a corner but was able to resume after treatment.
The whistle blew shortly after to end a first half which had seen Celtic enjoy most of the ball but only a flash of brilliance from Arzani separated the sides.
Neither side made any change at the interval and Celtic were first to get on the offensive winning an early corner although Morgan's flag-kick posed no problems for Cerny. Great play in a tight space from McLennan saw him dink a cross into the area, the ball unfortunately just too high for the leaping Dangana to connect.
Antoniazzi had a shot from the edge of the box fly wide as the Dons threatened then he played Dangana through, the striker unlucky to see his attempted pass inside to Anderson deflected to safety by the retreating Duffy.
On 57 minutes Ethan Ross was introduced in place of Antoniazzi on the wide right for Aberdeen. A clumsy touch from Mullen almost gave Anderson a sniff but the Scotland Under 21 international keeper recovered to clear the danger.
Arzani continued to be the main thorn in the side of the Dons defence and Cerny produced an outstanding save the deny the winger after 62 minutes. Ethan Ross came within a whisker of grabbing the equaliser two minutes later when he took a pass from McLennan before smashing a terrific shot off the keeper's right-hand post with Mullen beaten all ends up. A magnificent hit from the youngster which really deserved a goal.
A foul on Dangana twenty-two yards out gave the Dons a shooting chance. The wall blocked the initial effort from the Aberdeen striker then Mullen saved well from McGregor's header after McLennan picked him out on the edge of the six-yard box.
For the fist time in the game the Celtic rearguard were being put under concerted pressure as the visitors looked to get themselves back on terms. Tommy McIntyre took off Hendry and brought on Henderson in the 71st minute.
Celtic had a great chance on the break after an Aberdeen corner, but, fortunately for the Dons, Morgan couldn't link up with Oko-flex and the opportunity was spurned. A foul on McLennan saw Ralston booked while Harrington came on for Brown. Following an Anderson shot being tipped to safety by Mullen Aberdeen had a strong appeal for a penalty after a Celtic handball then McGregor was booked for a foul as the game continued at a high tempo.
After Crossan replaced Oko-flex in the home ranks the home side hit the Dons with a real sucker punch ten minutes from time when substitute Henderson hit a stunning shot high into Cerny's top right corner, doubling Celtic's advantage - a goal right against the run of play.
Anderson saw a shot on the turn deflected wide as the Dons pushed for a goal which their second-half showing deserved, but it looked like being one of those days where the luck wasn't going the way of the Pittodrie youngsters.
Lewis Duncan replaced Dangana for the final few minutes of the match but try as they might the Dons couldn't penetrate the Bhoys defence.

Despite the scoreline there was little to choose between the sides, two moments of brilliance from the home side earning them the points.
Celtic Teamsheet
Mullen, Ralston, Church, Welsh, Duffy, McInroy (C), Morgan, Benyu, Oko-flex (Crossan 76), Hendry (Henderson 71), Arzani
Unused substitutes - Willison (GK), Bell, Caffrey, Savoury, Mazis   Ralston 74
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Cerny, Virtanen, MacKenzie, Campbell, McGregor, Power, McLennan, Brown (Harrington 74), Dangana (Duncan), Anderson, Antoniazzi (Ross 57).

Unused Subs: Strachan, Chesser, Linden, Craddock.

Bookings:  McGregor (77).
Venue: Cappielow Park, Greenock
Referee: Graham Grainger