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Aberdeen 0 - 1 Celtic

HT Score: Aberdeen 0 - 1 Celtic

Premier Division
Celtic scorers: Burley 45 (pen)

21/03/1998 | KO: 15:00

Italian defender Enrico Annoni stepped in for groin injury victim Alan Stubbs as Celtic looked to secure their place at the top of the Premier Division at Aberdeen. The Dons were without the suspended Ilian Kiriakov, but with Eoin Jess keen to justify his Scotland recall and Stephen Glass his summer switch to Newcastle offered strength in attack.

For Celtic, Jackie McNamara, fit again after an ankle problem, won the vote over Simon Donnelly on the right flank, the latter being on the bench along with Darren Jackson the last visiting forward to score against Aberdeen. McNamara was injured in the opening seconds after coming off worse from a challenge by Aberdeen's Gary Smith but, to the obvious relief of the Celtic bench, recovered quickly after treatment.

A Jess cross produced a clever effort from Brian O'Neil after six minutes, Celtic keeper Jonathan Gould was alert to the volleyed back heel. Celtic's response was swift, Craig Burley playing in Harald Brattbakk on the right hand side of the area, but the Norwegian placed his shot wide of the post. A Derek Whyte foul on McNamara after 12 minutes produced a Celtic free kick at the edge of the area, but Burley's strike was scuffed and went wide of the mark. After 15 minutes an Aberdeen free kick proved more dangerous Jess touching the ball to Glass whose low hot required a fine stop low to his left by Gould.

On the half hour Mark Rieper's timely takcle in the area prevented Glass connecting with a Jess cross to keep the match deadlocked. After 35 minutes, Joe Miller spurned a hjalf chance for the home team as he sent the ball aver the bar from eight yards after a Jess corner broke kindly to him. In the closing minutes of what looked destined to be a goal less frst half Aberdeen conspired to concede a goal that was almost entirely of their own making, a sequence of events started by Russell Anderson's foul on Morton Wieghorst on the edge of the area. Henrik Larsson sent the free kick square to Lambert whose cross into the area was headed away weakly by John Inglis as far as Mahe who in attemping to run the byline was tripped by David Rowson. Burley stepped up to take the resulting penalty which he drove into the centre of the net as keeper Jim Leighton guessed wrongly by diving to his feet.

Burley had a fine attempt at doubling his and Celtic's tally after 52 minutes but his powreful 25 yard strike was deflected away for a corner. McNamara showed Celtic still has a little frustrating at events, earning a booking for clashing with Jess after being dispossessed in the area. Glass then sent an ambitions angled drive over the cross bar as he looked in vain to surprise visiting keeper Gould at his near post. Gould and Dodds were booked on the hour after Dodds made a late challenge on visiting keeper, who reacted angrily. Glas fired a 20 yard acrobatic strike at goal which Gould needed to claw away, and minutes later a Miller header needed to be swept off the line by McNamara.

After 62 minutes, Gould produced another fine save, this time to deny Whyte after he met Miller's free kick with a firm goalward-bound header with Celtic's one goal advantage looking fragile. Aberdeen continued to press, O'Neil putting Glass clear on the left after 26 minutes but the winger's cross was cleared to safety by French defender steve Mahe. Paul Lambert did not take kindly to a foul on the halfway line on him by Billy Dodds and appeared to push the Dons forward in the face, but no action was taken. An opening half of few chances was now turning ill tempered with Annoni pulling up for a tackle from behind on home striker Dodds.

Celtic Teamsheet
Gould, Boyd, Mahe, McNamara (Donnelly 77), Rieper, Annoni, Larsson, Burley, Brattbakk (Jackson 67), Lambert (Hannah 88), Wieghorst

Bookings:  Gould,   Mahe,   McNamara
Attendance: 18,009
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Referee: J. Underhill, Edinburgh
Next Match
East Kilbride
20 Jul 2024 / 15:00 / K-Park Training Academy, East Kilbride