A determined and disciplined Aberdeen display at Celtic Park brought the Dons within touching distance of a point, but the individual quality of Edouard, and a poor refereeing decision that saw Sam Cosgrove dismissed midway through the second half, conspired to see the league leaders home to a tenth straight league win.
For the trip to Celtic Park, Derek McInnes made two changes to the XI that started in the win over Hamilton Academical at Pittodrie last weekend. Andrew Considine returned to replace the injured Greg Leigh, while fit again Zak Vyner got the nod in midfield ahead of Ryan Hedges, who dropped to the bench. Michael Devlin was also among the substitutes, in place of Bruce Anderson.
Going in search of a tenth straight victory in the SPFL following their 2-0 win at Tynecastle on Wednesday night, league leading Celtic made just the one change, Bolingoli coming in for the injured ex-Don Jonny Hayes.
Four minutes in and Celtic might have been in front, Christie spearing in a corner to the near post. It took a thick deflection off Jullien and looped up goalwards, thumping against the crossbar before the Dons were able to tidy things up. Another scramble followed a minute later, James Wilson hoiking the ball clear after Ash Taylor blocked some neat play by Frimpong and Edouard.
The deadlock was broken in the seventh minute, a Celtic corner on their left again finding Jullien in the centre of the penalty area. He didn?t make a clean connection, firing the ball into the ground, but it bounced up and crept over Joe Lewis and into the top corner.
The Dons had a great opportunity to tie things up two minutes later, a free-kick near the byline on the left from Wilson reaching Sam Cosgrove who poked wide from close in under pressure from Brown, though it wouldn?t have counted, the referee penalizing some Aberdeen infringement.
Lewis was called into action again in the 21st minute, diving to his right to make a fine save from Edouard, shooting on the angle from 16 yards out after excellent close control won him space. Lewis made a more straightforward stop two minutes later from a Brown shot from distance.
Christie wasn?t far away in the 25th minute, a snapshot from a loose ball just inside the box flying inches wide of the far post. Forrest put another shot on target seconds later, a comfortable one for Lewis to deal with as Celtic?s high tempo pressing game penned the Dons in their own half.
They did get into Celtic territory in the 27th minute, Niall McGinn hacked down by Frimpong on the left edge of the box. It looked a cleverly worked free-kick, Wilson playing it low into the area, Scott McKenna getting free from any defenders to get on the end of it, but he miskicked and the chance was gone.
Celtic should have been two up in the 33rd minute. An Aberdeen marker switched off for a second down the left which allowed McGregor space to find a strong overlapping run from Bolingoli, his ball in finding Ntcham with the goal gaping, but the slightest of defensive deflections took the ball just away to safety.
That was crucial, for in the 35th minute, Aberdeen were level.
After a free-kick was initially cleared, the Dons recycled it well, McKenna feeding McGinn who stood the ball up to the back stick. Up went Cosgrove, climbing above Ajer and leaning back to head just inside the post. Twenty goals for the season for Sam, only the eighth time one of the Dons has ever reached that mark before Christmas ? Joe Harper did it four times, Paddy Moore, Duncan Shearer and Benny Yorston the others. Matt Armstrong and Willie Mills also reached the mark before the turn of the year, but after Christmas.
Six minutes before the break, the referee got his yellow card out for the first time, Christie booked for simulation, looking for a free-kick on the edge of the Aberdeen area. Moments later, brilliant defending from Wilson poked the ball away from Edouard as he was poised to shoot, referee Anderson doing extremely well to ignore penalty claims from the home side. Almost immediately, it was Shay Logan?s turn with some great defending, taking the ball off Edouard?s toe as Celtic mounted a siege before the interval.
Considine, in his 50th game against Celtic, almost grabbed a goal just before the break ? but at the wrong end. He met a Bolingoli cross perfectly with his header, Lewis there to pluck the ball out of the air from beneath the bar, much to Considine?s relief.
With the ball glued to his boots again, there was still time for Edouard to dance into the Aberdeen box, McKenna this time required to make a terrific last ditch intervention to keep him at bay and keep the Dons level going back into the dressing room.
HALF-TIME: CELTIC 1 ABERDEEN 1
Lovely football from Celtic opened the second half, slicking the ball around, but unlike in England, the red wall stood firm, Forrest getting frustrated and shooting at goal from 25 yards out, easy meat for Lewis. Forrest then tried his luck from similar distance in the 50th minute, slashing his shot well wide. It was McGregor?s turn next from even further out, another comfy one for the Aberdeen captain.
Lewis Ferguson required some treatment in the 56th minute after getting in the way of a fierce Christie free-kick, the Dons taking advantage of the break to replace Wilson with Connor McLennan. Celtic responded just past the hour, Johnston on for Ntcham. He was another to try his luck from well over 20 yards almost immediately, Lewis getting the gloves behind it.
A better opening came for Celtic in the 63rd minute, Edouard again impressing with his control, sliding Christie through, but Lewis saved from a tight angle at the near post as frustration began to grow amongst the home support. That frustration was relieved in the 66th minute though, Ajer charging forward, finding Christie who picked out Edouard first time, the French international firing clinically across Lewis and inside the far corner.
Jon Gallagher replaced McGinn as the teams formed up, Aberdeen with it all to do again. That task was made all the tougher almost instantly with a ridiculous red card for Cosgrove, the centre-forward making a robust challenge on Ajer where he clearly won the ball, Ajer rolling around in agony, though that didn?t stop him getting back to his feet within five seconds. Celtic captain Brown intervened with a very vocal protest and off went Cosgrove. Brown went unpunished, despite the pushing and shoving which them followed. Tempers also boiled over on the touchline.
The Dons brought on Curtis Main to try to give themselves a focal point up front, Funso Ojo making way for him in the 74th minute. Celtic made their own striking change, Griffiths taking the place of Edouard three minutes later. Main soon caused consternation in the Celtic box in the 79th minute, a strong knockdown poked behind for a corner by Brown, Jullien nodding clear McLennan?s delivery.
Christie joined Celtic?s second half 20 yard club, blasting over from that distance in the 81st minute, then Celtic introduced Rogic for Forrest in their final change as they tried to make attacking use of their extra man. They might have done so in the 89th minute, Frimpong chasing forward, McKenna forcing him onto his left foot, the Dutchman ballooning the ball over.
Frimpong was then immediately cautioned at the other end for hauling down Gallagher on the edge of the box. Sadly, Ferguson put the free-kick over the bar and with that went Aberdeen?s final chance of grabbing a deserved point from a gutsy display in Glasgow.