It is interesting to recall what Celtic manager Jock Stein said before the game:
"The success of Aberdeen in establishing themselves as a threat to the Old Firm has been a boost to the game, and, no doubt, a joy to all their fans. However, we don't intend to give up our title as Champions easily. If, however, we do, I can see no Club more worthy of being Champions than the Dons, and if not this year, perhaps the experience of this season, plus the added support of the Aberdeen fans, will drive them on next season. Today, we look forward to a good, exciting, sporting game, and one in which the fans of both sides will get their moneys' worth".
Celtic came North with 50 points from 30 games, while Aberdeen were 3 points ahead with two more games played. Celtic had the slightly better goal difference, so it was clear that Aberdeen had to win to take the league Title North for the first time since 1955. The stage was set for a classic encounter; Celtic had lost the European Cup and the league Cup. Aberdeen had lost their grip of the Scottish Cup. Their contrasting styles were set for a showdown: Celtic with their imaginative exciting style, while Aberdeen, under the guidance of the methodical Turnbull, used the ball superbly.
35,000 spectators filled Pittodrie Stadium as the fans with precious tickets felt lucky, because there were nasty rumours of forged tickets for the Match of the Season.
On a windy afternoon with Pittodrie showing effects of a hard championship chasing season, Celtic started brightly their efforts were rewarded after only 3 minutes when they took a sensational lead. Shooting into the King Street end. Jimmy Johnstone took a corner from the left, and Harry Hood, to the delight of the Celtic support, scored.
A cruel blow to Aberdeen, all the more hard to take, after the Dons had won the toss and elected to play with the wind in the first half.
Aberdeen did not allow the heads to go down. They fought back with some inspired football and after their initial setback was soon forgotten as the red shirts of Aberdeen pressurised the Celtic defence. With the Dons attack against the Celtic defence, there were escapes. Jim Forrest came close with a strong drive, and then a shot from Jim Hermiston dipped and almost caught out Williams. Aberdeens' efforts were not in vain, a goal had to come, and it did after 38 minutes.
With Aberdeen playing wide Steve Murray picked up a ball from defence and split the Celtic rearguard with a perfect ball for the oncoming Alec Willoughby who gratefully crashed the ball past Williams.
So it stood at half-time and the destiny of the flag was just as hard to predict. Alas for Aberdeen they could not penetrate the Celtic defence again and the score stood at 90 minutes. They had chances, the best coming when young Arthur Graham rounded Williams, only for his effort to hit McNeill on the knee.
Source: Aberdeen Programme, 19th January 1980