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Aberdeen 0 - 1 Celtic

HT Score: Aberdeen 0 - 0 Celtic

Celtic scorers: Maloney 71

12/05/2002 | KO: 15:00

Dons end season on a low

Aberdeen ended the season on a low note as they lost out to the champions and surrendered their third spot to Livingston. In a low-key affair the Dons were unable to produce any sparkle in front of goal. A tremendous free kick by Sean Maloney was enough to separate the sides and deserved to win any match. This was little consolation to the Dons fans as their team slipped to fourth place in the league as Livingston defeated Hearts at Tynecastle.

Both teams made a lively start to the match, but neither keeper was tested in the opening period. The first real incident of the match saw Anderson harshly booked in the 7th minute following a collision with Boyd. The Dons had their first chance of the game a minute later when Thornley released Mackie on the left, but Douglas was able to cut the striker's cross out to clear the danger. The Dons went close again in the 12th minute when they won a free kick 30 yards out after Sylla had tripped Darren Young. Thornley hit the set piece beyond the wall and only inches over Douglas?s cross bar.

Celtic went close in the 17th minute when Esson was forced to stretch full length to turn a Sylla header wide. The Celtic striker had risen unchallenged to meet a Guppy cross. Esson had to look lively again three minutes later after Thornley was caught in possession. Good play in the 23rd minute between McAllister and Thornley set up Mackie, but the youngster over hit his cross. A minute later Thornley cut inside and hit a shot that was easily held by Douglas. Petrov was booked in the 31st minute for a late challenge on Leon Mike.

McAllister gave away a needless free kick in the 42nd minute, but fortunately for the Dons the chance was wasted. Seconds later Esson kicked the ball out of play while under no pressure as the game stumbled towards half time. Celtic won a series of corners in the closing minutes, but the Dons defence held out and could have taken the lead themselves when Mackie set up Darren Young inside the Celtic penalty area. Just as it looked as though he would bury it, a last-gasp block denied the midfielder.

Celtic started the second half strongly and Sylla should have scored in the opening minute when he went one on one with Esson. The young keeper made a fine save to deny the Celt. Balde went close in the 52nd minute when he headed a corner inches wide of the Dons goal. Two minutes later the Dons also went close from a corner when the ball appeared to bounce off Leon Mike. Unfortunately for the Englishman it fell straight into the arms of Rab Douglas. Mike had another chance in the 56th minute, but elected to turn the wrong way and was outnumbered.

McAllister was forced to leave the field in the 65th minute after picking up a knock and Rutkiewicz replaced him. Mackie had a half chance in the 69th minute, but he was closed down as he lined up a shot. The breakthrough came two minutes later and unfortunately it was Celtic on target. A free kick was awarded 30 yards out, but before it could be taken there was a spat between Thornley and Sylla that saw both players booked. Sean Maloney then stepped up to take the free kick and hit an excellent shot into the top corner.

Celtic almost extended their lead three minutes later when Sylla out jumped Esson and headed inches over. The Dons then made a couple of changes with Tiernan and Clark replacing Derek Young and Bisconti. Esson denied Maloney a second in the 86th minute when he was quickly off his line to block at the young striker's feet. Celtic held the lead comfortably and the Dons never came close to producing an equaliser.

Aberdeen Teamsheet
Esson, Whyte, Anderson, McGuire, McAllister (Rutkiewicz 65), Young, Young (Tiernan 78), Thornley, Bisconti (Clark 80), Mike, Mackie.

Unused Subs: Peat, Mackie.

Bookings:  Anderson (7),  Thornley (70).
Celtic Teamsheet
Douglas, Boyd, Balde, Sylla, McNamara, Weighorst, Petrov, Healy, Maloney, Guppy, Smith. Unused Subs: Gould, McGovern, Fotheringham, Wallace, Kennedy

Bookings:  Petrov 31,   Sylla 70
Attendance: 15,332
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Referee: Stuart Dougal
Next Match
10 Jul 2024 / 19:00 / Balmoor Stadium, Peterhead