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Aberdeen 3 - 3 Celtic

HT Score: Aberdeen 1 - 0 Celtic

Scottish Premiership
Aberdeen scorers: Ferguson 43 (Pen), Hedges 65, Ferguson 92 (Pen).
Celtic scorers: McGregor 52, Griffiths 76, Christie 78 (pen)

25/10/2020 | KO: 12:00

Dons fight back for a deserved point

An epic second half at Pittodrie saw the Dons again grab a late goal to snatch a draw against the reigning champions in a game of three penalties that sets up next weekend's Scottish Cup semi-final perfectly.

Following the emphatic win over Hamilton Accies on Tuesday night, and with both Jonny Hayes and Ryan Edmondson passed fit to play, Derek McInnes made just one change to the starting XI, Ross McCrorie returning to the side in place of Scott Wright who took up his spot on the bench. That was the only change within the matchday squad of 20 players.

Having lost their last two games, both of them at home, to Rangers and then to Milan on Thursday night in the Europa League, Celtic boss Neil Lennon made four changes from that game, drafting in Scott Bain in goal for his first game since the opening weekend of the season, along with Ryan Christie, Tom Rogic and Mohamed Elyounossi, Vasilios Barkas missing out altogether, Scott Brown, Stephen Welsh and Leigh Griffiths all dropping to the bench.

Played on a typically blustery autumnal afternoon at Pittodrie, things opened with a minute's silence in memory of Ebbe Skovdahl. The conditions, worsened by some squally showers followed by bright sunshine, made life hard for the players, trying to judge the impact the wind would have on the ball, plenty of early passes and crosses proving too strong, neither side quick to settle.

McGregor was in the book for a hack from behind on Ryan Hedges in the ninth minute, but Hedges' resulting free-kick from 35 yards was again caught by the gusting wind and went behind for a goal kick.

Aberdeen produced the best move of the game so far after 12 minutes, Marley Watkins playing a one-two down the left with Jonny Hayes, then crossing for McCrorie coming in at the back post, his header blocked by Laxalt. Celtic went straight up the other end, Lewis Ferguson booked for cutting across Christie on the right edge of the box. Christie put a dangerous free-kick into the box, Andrew Considine doing well to head it clear.

Ntcham livened things up in the 18th minute, unleashing a rocket of a shot from fully 35 yards out, the ball swerving away from Joe Lewis but thankfully just wide of goal. Midway through the half, Dylan McGeouch required treatment, a couple of minutes after falling heavily following a challenge on the touchline with Laxalt, Connor McLennan coming onto replace him in the 26th minute.

The visitors weren't far away from the lead in the 27th minute, Christie's corner causing trouble, Ash Taylor doing well to clear Elyounossi's header from inside the six yard box. The visitors were beginning to pen Aberdeen in now, but the Dons were working hard and keeping a good shape to deny Celtic any clear sight of goal.

There was a quick break down the left in the 33rd minute, Watkins darting 60 yards forward before passing to Hayes, his cross a bit too high for McCrorie coming in at the far post.

An uneventful half came to life in the 42nd minute, a clumsy challenge from Ntcham, barging into the back of Ferguson as he ran onto a Watkins pass, giving referee Collum no option but to point to the spot. Ferguson picked himself up, put Bain the wrong way and sent the Dons into the lead.

Celtic responded, winning a corner in the final minute of the half, but Elyounossi was up to head Christie's flag kick wide at the back post, effectively bringing a satisfactory first half to its conclusion.


No changes from either side at the break, but the Dons were quick to win their first corner of the game in the 48th minute, though Ferguson's centre was easily claimed by Bain. Celtic were straight back up the other end to win a corner, Lewis taking a whack as he went up with Duffy, though he was quickly up and able to continue. McCrorie then became the third man into the book, late on Frimpong in the 51st minute.

A minute later, some neat passing football from Celtic levelled things up, a swift interchange between McGregor and Rogic setting McGregor through, good close control opening things up for him to slot a left shot across Lewis and in. Almost immediately, Lewis had to be down sharply to his left to deny Rogic's shot from the edge of the box.

More injury worries for the Dons in the 55th minute Duffy coming across to hurl Edmondson into the advertising hoardings, the big striker again needing treatment. While he was getting treatment, Wright replaced Watkins for Aberdeen, Edmondson then having to make way too, Sam Cosgrove coming on for his first action of the season.

The Dons were back in front in the 65th minute though, the second half subs playing a big part. It started with real persistence from Wright, harrying Duffy down the left, pinching the ball away from him. Darting to the by-line, he pulled the ball back into Cosgrove. His shot on the turn was well saved by Bain but following in, Hedges was there to bundle the ball over the line from six yards out.

It could have been 3-1 just two minutes later, another piece of fine play from Wright down the left starting it off. His cross picked out Cosgrove but he was surrounded by hooped shirts, having to roll the ball back to McCrorie who drove wide from 25 yards out. Celtic responded by bringing on Brown and Griffiths with Ntcham and Ajeti making way in the 70th minute.

Wright was running riot down the left now, skinning Duffy at will, winning another corner as Brown put his cross behind in the 72nd minute. The delivery from Ferguson was overhit again though. Christie got free a couple of minutes later but couldn't get enough power on his shot from Rogic's cross, Lewis saving with ease.

As is often the way, the arrival of Brown changed the tone of the game and Celtic were level in the 76th minute, a goal that should never have been given as Cosgrove was poleaxed by Duffy in the centre circle at the start of the move. From there, Celtic sliced through the Dons too easily though, eventually picking out Griffiths in the inside right position and he wrapped his foot round the ball to fire across Lewis and in.

A minute later, Celtic were in front, Tommie Hoban penalised for the slightest of touches on Elyounossi in the box though the striker made a meal of it. Christie took the penalty and, like Ferguson, sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to score.

McGregor was lucky not to collect a second yellow in the 80th minute, going through the back of Hedges as key decisions suddenly started to go the way of the visitors. A chance came Aberdeen's way after another McGregor foul five minutes from time, Ferguson putting the free-kick over from 20 yards. Turnbull then replaced Rogic.

A snapshot from Cosgrove from the edge of the box in the 88th minute had Bain scrambling only for the ball to bobble just wide as Aberdeen pressed for the equaliser they deserved.

The chance came in added time after brilliant football from Wright who jinked past half a dozen challenges from Celtic before crossing. McLennan was upended in the box and referee Collum again had no choice but to award the penalty after trying to play an advantage, Cosgrove smacking the ball against the bar. Up stepped Ferguson, Bain not even moving this time as the midfielder drilled the ball into the net.

Justice, of a kind, done, though you could argue the Dons were worth the win. Certainly they go to Hampden Park next Sunday in really good heart and with so many reasons to be optimistic.

Weather: Strong wind, showers and sunshine
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Lewis, Hoban, Considine, Hedges, Taylor, Hayes, Edmondson (Cosgrove 57), Ferguson, McCrorie, McGeouch (McLennan 26), Watkins (Wright 56).

Unused Subs: Woods, Logan, Ojo, McGinn, Leigh, Kennedy.

Bookings:  Ferguson (13),  McCrorie (51).
Celtic Teamsheet
Bain, Duffy, Ajeti (Griffiths 70), Chistie, Rogic (Turnbull 86), Ntcham (Brown 69), Elyounoussi, Frimpong, Ajer, McGregor, Laxalt

Unused Substitutes: Hazard, Taylor, Klimala, Sors, Ralston, Welsh

Bookings:  McGregor 9
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Referee: Willie Collum