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Celtic 2 - 0 Aberdeen

HT Score: Celtic 1 - 0 Aberdeen

Scottish Premiership
Celtic scorers: Welsh 3, Jota 75

31/07/2022 | KO: 16:30

Dons Lose Out In Opening League Game

Conceding an early goal made life too difficult for the Dons in the end, but across the 90 minutes at Celtic Park there was plenty of encouragement to take from the opening day of the league season.

There were two changes for Jim Goodwin's Aberdeen after beating Raith Rovers to complete the Dons' successful League Cup group campaign last Sunday. With Liam Scales unable to play against his parent club, Ross McCrorie dropped back into central defence, Dante Polvara coming into the side in central midfield. At left-back, Hayden Coulson made his Dons debut, replacing Mason Hancock who has headed to Arbroath on loan. On the bench, Callum Roberts got his first taste of the matchday squad. Liam Harvey was also included with David Bates dropping out.

The Dons were facing an uphill battle from the third minute when Celtic seized the lead from an O'Riley corner. He curled it into the edge of the six-yard box where it was all too easy for Welsh to get up above the Aberdeen defence and glance a header into the far corner.

Jonny Hayes was on the chase on eight minutes after Bojan Miovski nodded on a Kelle Roos clearance, but Hart just pipped him to the ball on the edge of the box and Celtic bundled the ball to safety.

A quick Celtic break on 15 minutes got Kyogo into a shooting position just inside the box, Roos down to his right to make a comfortable save. Generally though, the Dons had settled into the game after that early shock, though Polvara had to produce a crucial interception from a low cross as Jota looked ready to pull the trigger from six yards out on 22 minutes.

It was nearly 2-0 on 25 minutes, O'Riley given space on the edge of the box to curl the ball through the area. Kyogo was lunging in at the back post but turned the ball wide of goal from five yards out.

Coulson began a neat move for Aberdeen after 29 minutes, Matty Kennedy picking up the ball from a Miovski knockdown, but putting too much on his cross to the back post.

Kennedy forced Hart into routine action on 36 minutes, putting his 20 yarder into the goalkeeper's gloves after a surging cross field run from Coulson across 50 yards set him up to shoot.

It should have been level on 37 minutes. Vicente Besuijen made a darting run in behind to collect Ylber Ramadani's pass, before pulling the ball across into the path of Hayes. He was 15 yards out, in line with the post, but he shaped his shot just wide of the target, a glorious opportunity spurned. Much better though from Aberdeen, who were now very much in the game.

Kennedy was in the book on 42 minutes, hauling down O'Riley as Celtic looked to mount a counter-attack from an Aberdeen free-kick. Celtic were on the break again a couple of minutes later, Maeda slinging the ball into the near post, Anthony Stewart doing really well to beat Kyogo to the ball to snuff out the danger.

Half-Time: Celtic 1-0 Aberdeen

The Dons made an aggressive start to the second half, Hatate going down under a challenge from Ramadani on 49 minutes, needing treatment before continuing.

Roos had to make a couple of saves in short order on 55 minutes, the first one from Juranovic to the left, then from the rebound, Celtic worked the ball back to O'Riley whose low shot was pushed away. A couple of minutes later, Jayden Richardson was in the book for a tackle on McGregor.

A double change for Aberdeen on 62, Duk replacing Miovski, Roberts making his debut in place of Kennedy. Hatate was on the deck again a couple of minutes later after challenging for a high ball. He made way, along with Kyogo and Maeda, Turnbull, Abada and Giakoumakis coming on.

That gave Celtic a bit of fresh impetus, but Aberdeen's defending was on the money, Stewart and McCrorie in particular dominant when anything came into the penalty area. Abada cut inside from the Celtic right on 72, but with no angle to work with, he fired straight at Roos.

Aberdeen then had a couple of 50-50 calls go against them in the Celtic half as started to push players forward.

But there was no stopping Jota on 75 minutes though. Receiving the ball on the left side of goal, he wriggled into space and from 25 yards out he sent a searing shot back across the face of goal and into the corner of the net. It was nearly 3-0 on 79, Celtic on a breakneck counter-attack from an Aberdeen corner, but McCrorie was busting a gut to run the length of the pitch and steal the ball from Turnbull's toe as he looked set to score.

McCrorie was on the chase again, going forward this time, only to be rugby tackled by Taylor who was booked. Mooy and Ralston then replaced O'Riley and Juranovic on 83 minutes.

A deflected Polvara header was pawed over the bar by Hart as Aberdeen tried to find a way back into the game, the corner coming to nothing. At the other end, Giakoumakis got in behind to collect a knockdown but somehow put an absolute sitter wide of goal from five yards out. He did it again with a near post header on 88 minutes, putting the ball well wide of the target.

Aberdeen finished with some possession and a couple of dangerous crosses, but could not work an opening.

Celtic Teamsheet
Hart, Juranovic (Ralston 83), Carter-Vickers, Welsh, Taylor, Hatate (Turnbull 66), McGregor, O'Riley (Mooy 83), Jota, Maeda (Abada 66), Kyogo (Giakoumakis 66).

Unused substitutes: Siegrist, Jenz, Bernabei, Forrest

Bookings:  Taylor 81
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Roos, McCrorie, Stewart, Miovski (Lopes 62), Besuijen, Ramadani, Hayes, Polvara, Coulson, Richardson, Kennedy (Roberts 62).

Unused Subs: Lewis, Watkins, McLennan, Duncan, Milne, Harvey, Ramirez.

Bookings:  Kennedy (42),  Richardson (58).
Attendance: 58,824
Venue: Celtic Park, Glasgow
Referee: Nick Walsh
Next Match
10 Jul 2024 / 19:00 / Balmoor Stadium, Peterhead