Aberdeen travel to Madrid in midweek still concerned about their defensive frailties as they conceded another three at Celtic Park. This was hardly the preparation Jimmy Calderwood was looking for as he struggles to field a settled back line. Aberdeen did carve out one or two half chances and had the ball in the net on two occasions but both were adjudged offside. The Dons are going to have to defend far better in Madrid if they are to give themselves any chance in the midweek match.
Celtic, as expected, started strongly and won the first corner of the match in the 2nd minute, but Aberdeen managed to scramble the ball clear before Donati hit a weak effort that Langfield held comfortably. McDonald then looked lively in the 4th minute before Diamond stepped in to stop the Australian hit man. Aberdeen had yet to test Brown in goal after the keeper was a late replacement for the injured Boruc. Diamond had to look lively in the 9th minute when McGeady beat Byrne and whipped in a dangerous cross that was cleared by the Dons defender. A minute later McGeady tested Langfield but the keeper passed with flying colours.
Aberdeen went close in the 11th minute when Lee Mair got on the end of a Scott Severin free kick but the defender screwed his effort wide. Seconds later Kennedy did well to stop Aluko in full flow as the Dons started to threaten for the first time in the match. The game then raced up to the other end and once again it was Zander Diamond who saved the day as he conceded a corner. Just as Aberdeen looked to be settling into the game they conceded the opening goal when they failed to clear the corner.
Jarosik headed the ball into the danger area and Vennegoor of Hesselink steered the ball into the net and out of reach of Langfield. Two minutes later Celtic went close again as McDonald made a penetrating run and Langfield could only block the effort before it was cleared. Aberdeen were almost punished again in the 22nd minute when Clark gave the ball away and Langfield was forced into a fine save from Vennegoor of Hesselink. Two minutes later Jarosik rattled the bar with a strike that had the keeper beaten all ends up.
Aberdeen went close in the 25th minute through some fine one touch play between Barry Nicholson and Sone Aluko. Initially Kennedy appeared to have dealt with the situation but the young Englishman won the ball back before the Celtic defence finally got back to clear. Celtic doubled their advantage in the 28th minute when McGeady collected the ball on the right, cut inside Byrne and drilled the ball past Langfield from 20 yards. A minute later Aberdeen won a corner when Clark had an effort blocked after Jarosik had been penalised for the umpteenth time.
Aberdeen threatened from the corner but Celtic managed to scramble the ball clear. Donati was the first player to be booked when he made a poor challenge on Chris Clark in the middle of the park. The midfielder hobbled of the park and when the free kick was delivered, Aluko combined with Byrne but when the Irishman fired the ball across goal Diamond couldn't get his shot away. Another free kick in the 37th minute failed to get behind the Celtic defence as the Dons desperately looked to pull a goal back before the interval.
Celtic won a very soft free kick in the 42nd minute and as Aberdeen cleared the danger Caldwell made a blatant foul to stop Smith breaking forward. Normally a yellow card would appear but Mr. McCurry was happy to settle for a free kick. From the subsequent set play Jamie Smith set up Lee Miller but his shot went inches wide. Another free kick a minute later had Kennedy heading the ball for a corner from a Jamie Smith delivery. Jarosic should have been shown a yellow after another shocking challenge on Barry Nicholson but once again the challenge went unpunished. The Dons may have been two goals behind but they finished the first half on top.
Chris Clark was unable to return in the second half after the assault from Donati and he was replaced by Chris Maguire. Aberdeen's afternoon took a turn for the worse after another defensive blunder in the 49th minute. Brown surged forward and Langfield appeared to have made a save then dropped the ball allowing McDonald a simple tap in. Aberdeen had loud claims for a penalty three minutes later when Byrne went tumbling in the box but nothing was given and they didn't even win the corner. Seconds earlier Jarosik appeared to handle the ball but referee McCurry signalled that it hit his shoulder.
Aberdeen were threatening again and Mair went close following another corner kick but again the ball was scrambled clear. Jarosik should have made it four in the 55th minute but managed to fire wide from six yards and three minutes later Diamond rescued the Dons again with another fine challenge. Lee Miller had the ball in the net on the hour mark after great work from Aluko but the striker was adjudged to be offside. Langfield made up for his earlier mistake with a point blank save from Lee Naylor and then he made another fine save in the 68th minute when he held a deflected McGeady shot.
A minute later the keeper made a terrific double save from McGeady as he continued to show why he holds the number one shirt. Jamie Smith was replaced by de Visscher in the 73rd minute and two minutes later Aluko won a corner for the Dons. The ball was cleared and a minute later Severin sent a wild shot well wide of the target. Lovell replaced Miller in the 77th minute and Celtic replaced both their strikers probably mindful of their midweek match in Europe. Langfield made another good save five minutes from time and at the other end the Dons forced a couple of corners.
The first corner was hooked clear in a panic and the second was comfortably defended. A minute later Hart hit the bye line but his cross failed to find a team mate then Maguire worked his way forward but couldn't keep the ball in play. Lovell then had the ball in the net again in the 90th minute but once again he was flagged offside denying the Dons any consolation on a miserable afternoon.