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AFC - Match Report
match report 2003-04 fixture list
SPL 
24/01/2004
 
Aberdeen 1 - 3 Celtic
Kick Off:  12:30 PM   Tosh 63.       Petrov (30), Larsson (43), Pearson (59)  
Attendance: 16,452 (Visitors: 3,987)
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Dons crash to runaway leaders
Match programmeThe loss of Russell Anderson and Scott Booth proved too much for Aberdeen as they crashed 3-1 to Celtic at Pittodrie. The Dons enjoyed their fair share of possession, but were unable to convert this into many clear-cut chances. After falling behind on the half hour mark Larsson added a second before the interval. When Pearson grabbed a third in the 59th minute it was all over. To their credit the Dons never crumbled and grabbed a deserved consolation when Tosh netted in the 63rd minute.

Aberdeen kicked off and carved out the first chance in the opening minute. Muirhead looked lively down the left and the ball eventually fell to Heikkinen on the edge of the box. Unfortunately there was to be no repeat of the midweek strike and the effort failed to test Douglas. Celtic went close in the 5th minute when Aberdeen failed to clear their lines and Larsson hit a shot wide of Preece's goal. At this stage the Dons were enjoying a lot of possession without threatening the Celtic goal and won the first corner of the match in the 10th minute, which Douglas easily dealt with.

 
Two minutes later Morrison almost surprised the Celtic keeper with a cross that crashed off the post and was cleared to safety. The 13th minute saw Sutton threaten, but Diamond ushered him wide and Preece handled the low shot easily. Diamond again showed his class a minute later with a perfectly timed tackle on Larsson. Celtic were denied the lead in the 16th minute when Preece made a fantastic stop low to his left from a powerful Hartson header. A minute later Morrison found Zdrilic 10 yards out and the striker turned smartly before firing in a shot, which Douglas held.

Aberdeen were thankful of the woodwork in the 18th minute when a Diamond clearance struck Larsson and hit the bar with Preece beaten. McGuire was not about to be outshone by Diamond at the back and in the 25th minute he also stopped Larsson in his tracks with a great tackle and repeated the exercise a minute later. Celtic grabbed the lead on the half hour mark when Petrov drilled a low shot past Preece from the edge of the box. The keeper almost reached the effort before it went in off the post.

Morrison almost caught out Douglas again in the 32nd minute when another cross almost looped into the net causing the keeper to scurry back and tip the effort over the bar. From the resulting corner Clark hit a swerving shot forcing Douglas into a fine save. In the 36th minute Muirhead went down after a challenge from Agathe. Rowbotham played on, but had to call a halt to play to allow lengthy treatment to the youngster. In the 41st minute McNaughton was the last man on hand to deny the ever-dangerous Larsson. Celtic doubled their advantage in the 43rd minute when a McNamara cross eluded the Dons defence and found Larsson lurking at the back post. The Swede made no mistake in steering the ball past Preece.

 
Muirhead never recovered from his first half injury and was replaced by Sheerin at the break. It was an uphill battle now for Aberdeen as they failed to show the same composure that had been on show in the early part of the match. That coupled with fifty-fifty decisions now going the visitors' way did little to encourage thoughts of a comeback. That task became impossible in the 59th minute when the Celtic attack cut through the Dons defence for Pearson to add a third.

Aberdeen pulled a goal back in the 63rd minute when Clark was released on the right and worked the ball to Tosh in the middle. The midfielder gave the red army something to cheer about when he turned the ball into the net. Five minutes later Foster replaced Hinds up front for the Dons. Then in the 70th minute a Morrison corner caused the Celtic defence all sorts of problems before they finally managed to scramble the ball clear.

Three minutes later Prunty replaced McNaughton as Paterson made the final roll of the dice. A minute later Tosh skipped through the Celtic defence before cutting the ball back. Unfortunately he failed to find a colleague and the danger was cleared. In the 83rd minute Celtic were awarded a soft free kick 25 yards from goal, but Larsson failed to get the ball beyond the wall as the match appeared to meander towards it's conclusion. What was needed was a Dons goal to add some excitement to the closing stages. This wasn't to be although they nearly grabbed a second with the last set play of the game.

Aberdeen Teamsheet:  Preece, Morrison, McNaughton (Prunty 73), Heikkinen, McGuire, Diamond, Clark, Tosh, Zdrilic, Hinds (Foster 68), Muirhead (Sheerin 46).

Unused Subs:

Bookings:

Celtic Teamsheet:  Douglas, McNamara, Kennedy, Varga, Agathe, Pearson, Lennon, Sutton, Petrov, Hartson, Larsson.

Bookings:

Referee: John Rowbotham, Kirkcaldy

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