The Dons returned to action at Pittodrie after the World Cup break, making just one change to the team that beat Dundee United 1-0 back in November. Jack MacKenzie returned to the starting XI in place of Liam Scales, unable to play against his parent club. Fit again Jonny Hayes was on the bench, along with youngsters Alfie Bavidge and Findlay Marshall.
There were four changes for Celtic from the side that beat Ross County 2-1 last month. Into the side come Callum McGregor, Jota, Carl Starfelt and Greg Taylor in place of Moritz Jenz, Alexandro Bernabei, David Turnbull and Sead Haksabanovic.
The visitors made a brisk start to the game but the Dons kept a good defensive shape in those early exchanges. They sprang a good counter-attack on five minutes, Duk getting the team right up the pitch, but the resulting throw-in came to nothing.
Hayden Coulson was next on the break following a good pass out from Anthony Stewart as Aberdeen gave the league leaders something to think about defensively. The Dons were under plenty of pressure but they were committed in the challenge and intelligent in their positioning early on, Hatate the first to get a real chance, dragging his shot wide from 18 yards after 13 minutes.
Jota was next to try his luck, a curling shot from 22 yards pushed away comfortably enough by Kelle Roos. There was some brilliant play from Duk on 18 minutes, an electrifying run over 60 yards ending with him winning a free-kick some 30 yards out. Leighton Clarkson stepped up to take, getting it over the wall but from there, the ball stubbornly refused to dip, flying into the crowd.
Roos was called into action on 21 minutes, a snapshot from Hatate arrowing towards the bottom corner. Roos saved with left hand, then right foot before MacKenzie completed the clear up.
Stewart was sweeping up on 27 minutes, Kyogo on the chase going around Roos before clipping a shot goalwards, Stewart there to block the ball in the six yard box. Persistent pressure from Celtic at this stage, but Aberdeen were holding firm, so much so that the visitors were reduced to shooting speculatively from range, McGregor ballooning over from 30 yards after 35 minutes.
Aberdeen created a few moments of panic on 43 minutes, Hart fumbling a cross hoisted to the back post but the ball fell kindly for the visitors who were able to clear their lines.
HALF-TIME: ABERDEEN 0 CELTIC 0
Abada replaced Maeda for Celtic as the teams came out for the second half. They picked up from the first half, keeping Aberdeen penned in, but the Dons' concentration was good, denying the visitors any time and space, keeping them at arm's length.
On 53 minutes, there was some good fortune for the Dons. Abada finally got his team in behind Aberdeen and squared for Kyogo but from five yards, he guided the ball across goal and wide of the post, a real sitter missed. Hatate fired over from 25 yards a couple of minutes later before Jota did likewise in the 56th minute.
Abada was the threat again on 63 minutes, drilling a low cross through the Aberdeen six yard box, but fortunately there were no takers in a hooped shirt. Another frustrated dig at goal from McGregor 30 yards out flew into the crowd on 65 minutes. Clarkson went in the book for an innocuous looking challenge on Carter-Vickers a minute later.
A spectacular volleyed effort from Kyogo flashed wide on 70 minutes after good Celtic possession resulted in a cross from Ralston into the six yard area. Taylor then drove a shot across the face of goal and inches wide of the par post in the 72nd minute. The visitors then made a triple change, Turnbull, Forrest, Giakoumakis replacing Jota, Kyogo and Hatate. Hayes replaced Miovski at the same time. Ryan Duncan came on for Clarkson three minutes later.
More Celtic pressure ended with Turnbull poking a shot goalwards in the 78th minute, Roos well positioned to gather with ease at his near post. Giakoumakis was next to get into a scoring position but under pressure from MacKenzie, he steered his header well over.
Roos was busy at the near post again in the 86th minute, pushing an Abada drive behind. There was no stopping McGregor's vicious drive at goal a minute later though. Collecting the ball from Forrest on the edge of the D, he put his foot through the ball and it flew across the face of goal and into the far corner.
Mooy replaced O'Riley as we headed into four added minutes. The Dons tried to find a way back into the game, Hayes probing, McCrorie firing a shot over, but the damage had been done.