Victory Margin Might Have Been More Decisive
ABERDEEN, by defeating Celtic 3-1 at Parkhead last night, made it virtually certain that Rangers will qualify for the League Cup match-play stages, but they also assured themselves of a great welcome when they take the field against the Light Blues in the final match of the qualifying series at Pittodrie on Saturday.
There was no fluke about this unexpected Aberdeen success. They lost an early goal through bad marking, but were ahead in fourteen minutes.
They gradually got on top of a Celtic side that promised all sorts of good things until they got within shooting distance, and then faded out. In fact, Aberdeen's victory margin might have been more decisive.
In the second half Pearson was impeded by Boden in the penalty area, but instead of pointing to the spot the referee gave a non-scoring free kick inside the box, presumably under the new ruling that a player can be obstructed if not within playing distance of the ball.
If this was the case it seemed unfair to Aberdeen, for Pearson had the ball under control and had only Miller to beat when Boden made his tackle.
Then there was the occasion when Kelly took on the Celtic defence single-handed, and got through the lot to square the ball across goal. Unfortunately for Aberdeen there was not a friendly foot to tap the ball into the empty net.
Celtic have themselves to blame for this reverse. Evans and McAuley had complete command of the middle of the field for a spell, but the forwards, instead of thriving on such service, weaved their way to disaster.
In the later stages it was the Pittodrie forward quintette which provided all the good football, and some of it was delightful to watch.