David Goodwillie's first goal for the club wasn't enough as The Dons lost out by two goals to one in a highly competitive and entertaining match at Parkhead. They found themselves a goal behind on 7 minutes when a corner kick was fired to the back post and knocked towards goal by Ambrose before Denayer got a vital touch to send the ball into the net.
Both sides created a few chances after that but it was Celtic who doubled their advantage, 27 seconds into the second period when McGregor played the ball to Commons, who was in acres of space and his shot deflected off Logan beyond the helpless Langfield.
Aberdeen did respond well and pulled a goal back on 60 minutes, Logan's cross found Considine and he headed back across goal for Goodwillie to stoop low and head into the net. After that The Dons pushed for an equaliser and had chances- Gordon saving well from a Flood shot and a good Kayal tackle stopped McGinn from scoring. However, The Dons should have had a penalty when a McGinn free kick came off the hand of Kris Commons but it wasn't given.
Aberdeen had to make do without Jonny Hayes' whose partner is expecting a baby and Jonny had to travel North early this morning. The Dons lined up with Langfield in goal, Logan at right back, Taylor and Reynolds at centre back with Considine at left back. The midfield five were Low, Jack, Flood, Pawlett, McGinn with Goodwillie upfront. Pawlett started out wide before being moved into a more central position.
Celtic looked very hesitant in the opening stages whereas Aberdeen started the game quite brightly. On 4 minutes McGinn played a nice through ball to Low after a good move. Nicky just failed to find Goodwillie in the area.
On 6 minutes Commons had a snapshot which was deflected behind for a corner. The Dons did not deal with the set piece and Ambrose header was cleared off the line. However the ball was played back in and Denayer forced it over the line from close range. A disastrous start for the Dons. They really did not attack the ball as it came over.
Aberdeen to their credit did not panic and won a corner on nine minutes. The ball was floated to Considine at the edge of the area but his header just looped up into Craig Gordon's arms. A bit of a waste as he had a free header but he could not find a red jersey. On 11 minutes it should have been two to the hosts. Izaguirre did really well down the left. His good cross found Commons who somehow failed to find the target from five yards out.
Celtic then won another couple of corners which the Dons did not look comfortable with but managed to get the ball away to safety. Then new signing Scepovic had the ball in the net but the striker was a mile offside.
On 18 minutes the Celtic defence looked far from clever as Nicky Low put over a couple of crosses from the left. The second one went straight to Goodwillie but his snap shot went over. A half chance. A minute later Commons had a chance but Langfield did well to parry. Worryingly the chance was created too easily. Then on 22 minutes Callum McGregor got to the by-line but Langfield did really well to get the low cross to safety.
Then more poor defending from Celtic as a slack back pass almost let Goodwillie in but Gordon was alert to the danger. A short time after that Pawlett almost found the Dons striker but Van Dijk came across to make a good block at the expense of an Aberdeen corner. The Dons could do nothing with the set-piece. On the half hour mark McGregor had another chance but Considine stood up to him well and in the end his shot went harmlessly wide.
After that the Dons started to grow into the game and were knocking the ball about with a bit more confidence and asking a few questions. Celtic though still looked dangerous going forward and Commons firstly had a shot which went just wide and then he was not far away from getting on the end of a cross from the left.
Just before the break a good little spell from the Dons. The ball very nearly fell to Goodwillie in the box but Ambrose made a good tackle then a McGinn cross picked out Logan at the far post but Izaguirre did well to head the ball over from right under his bar.
Aberdeen then made an equally disastrous start to the second half. After only about 25 seconds McGregor cut in from the left and he found Commons completely unmarked. His shot was deflected off Logan and went past Langfield who was already diving.
A really soft goal to lose.
Again though Aberdeen showed character to come back into the game. On 51 minutes Goodwillie did well to win Aberdeen a corner. The striker was then flagged offside when he picked the ball up in a good area. He looked well onside. Then on 52 minutes Goodwillie and Pawlett combined well, Peter fired in a good shot which was palmed away by Gordon. It was a powerful shot but at a good height for the keeper.
On 55 minutes another good chance for the home side. Van Dijk strolled forward and found Commons completely unmarked at the edge of the area. He had far too much room and was able to fire in a shot which clipped the cross bar. Common's movement is very good and at times Aberdeen struggle to deal with it.
Then on the hour mark a life line for Aberdeen.
Just as it appeared the Dons were about to make a double change, McGinn chipped it to Considine at the back post and his clever header back across the face of goal found Goodwillie unmarked and he was able to head the ball into the empty net. A great moment for David, his first goal for the Dons and he really deserved it.
Straight away Derek McInnes did make one change, Nicky Low was replaced by Jeffery Monakana. At the same time Celtic made a double change; Scepovic was replaced by another new signing, John Guidetti and Kayal replaced captain Scott Brown.
On 62 minutes McGinn fired in a powerful shot which Gordon blocked. This really was now game on. A minute later Ryan Jack was booked for a strong tackle.
On 65 minutes more good play by the Dons who were now full of confidence. The ball was worked wide to McGinn and then back to Flood who hammered in a shot. Again Gordon chose to push the ball clear. It went straight to Niall McGinn who headed it straight back across goal and Goodwillie was not far away from his second although the flag then went up.
The game then really opened up and it was end to end. The Dons were looking threatening every time they went forward. Without Scott Brown the Dons were now getting on top in the middle of the park as well which meant they were getting plenty of possession.
On 74 minutes Commons hit a low free kick which was deflected wide for a corner from which Denyer was not far away from getting his head on. With fifteen minutes to go Andrew Considine was replaced by Adam Rooney. Ryan Jack went to right back and Shay Logan over to left back and the Dons played with two up front. A very attacking move from the manager.
On 78 minutes a let off for the Dons when Commons laid it back to McGregor but he swept the ball just wide. A minute later Reynolds played in Logan who drew the foul right on the edge of the area.
There was then a moment of major controversy.
Niall McGinn took the free kick and his powerful effort deflected and appeared clearly to hit Commons hand which was well up. The Celtic player was a good distance back so he had time to get it out of the way. The Aberdeen bench were furious that a penalty was not given. Then seconds later Goodwillie crossed for Rooney who laid it into the path of McGinn and his shot just went over. The ball was clearly touched last by a Celtic defender, it looked like Kayal, who in the end made a very good tackle but the linesman gave a goal kick.
It was a very nervous Celtic Park in the final ten minutes as the Dons continued to push for an equaliser. On 85 minutes Gordon did well to come for a Logan cross and claim it. Rooney was hovering for any mistake. On 87 minutes he had to come and claim a McGinn cross.
In the 89 minute McGregor was flagged for being offside. He continued his run anyway and when everyone else had clearly stopped he put the ball into the empty net but didn't receive a yellow card.
In injury time McGrgeor should have made the game safe after a good run but Langfield blocked his weak shot. Then the nearside linesman flagged Goodwillie offside when he looked on. The striker would have been in on goal. He could not have been offside as a Celtic defender got the last touch and it was not a free kick either. Seconds later Adam Rooney was booked for a challenge and shortly after that the whistle went for full time.
A frustrating afternoon.