This match was ruined as a contest with barely a minute on the clock when referee Muir controversially showed Considine a straight red card. The Dons defender conceded a penalty for a tug on Scott Brown, but with Diamond in attendance it is difficult to justify the sending off. Langfield made a great save from the spot kick. But the damage had already been done. Celtic went ahead in the 13th minute when Jack picked up a knock and lost possession allowing Hooper to play a one-two with Stokes before scoring. Aberdeen then lost Jack and McNamee as their luck totally deserted them. Aberdeen battled throughout and carved out several chances, however the legs eventually went and Celtic added two more goals late on. Another defeat to the Glasgow side, but fans were left wondering about what might have been if Considine had stayed on the park.
Aberdeen kicked off, but in the second minute Celtic won a penalty when Considine was adjudged to have pulled back Brown. Matters took a turn for the worse when referee Muir showed the Dons defender a straight red card despite Diamond being in attendance. A sense of justice was felt around the stadium when Langfield dived low to his left to save the effort from Stokes. Aberdeen then cleared the subsequent corner and in the 5th minute they carved out their first chance when Hartley hit a fierce low shot that was blocked on the penalty spot.
Celtic obviously had the upper hand at this stage and in the 10th minute a Commons shot went wide of the target. Celtic then went ahead in the 13th minute when Jack appeared to be fouled and lost possession allowing Celtic to break and good interplay saw Hooper slot the ball beyond Langfield. McNamee and Jack had both picked up knocks and the Dons at one point were down to eight men. Young eventually replaced Jack in the 16th minute and Smith made his debut two minutes later as McNamee was forced off. In the 19th minute the ball was played off Celtic's Scott Brown and the visitor's were awarded a corner.
Fortunately the Dons were able to clear, but everything was going against Aberdeen at this stage and it would take a miracle for them to take anything out of this. Langfield made a fine save low to his right in the 23rd minute after Commons collected a half clearance from a corner. Two minutes later the keeper made another good stop from the same player. Milsom won a free kick 40 yards out and Vernon was unlucky not to connect as the Celtic defence scrambled the ball clear.
Young was booked on the half hour mark and two minutes later Maguire was held back by Izaguirre, but no card was issued. Forster claimed the free kick and at the other end Langfield made another great save before Milsom cleared off the line to keep the score at 1-0. Celtic went close again in the 37th minute when Kayal hit a fierce shot from 30 yards that beat Langfield and crashed off the post. Blackman went close to pulling Aberdeen level a minute later. He collected a Vernon flick on, turned three defenders and hit an effort inches wide.
A minute later the home fans were on their feet in protest as Blackman was tripped on the edge of the box and the referee waved play on. However seconds later the ball was returned and Forster made a great save to deny Maguire. In the 41st minute Blackman and Maguire combined well again and Forster was forced to turn the ball round the post. From the corner kick the keeper once again saved Celtic as he blocked a Vernon shot with his defence in a panic. In the closing minute a Celtic free kick went sailing over the top after Diamonds had conceded in a dangerous spot.
Chris Maguire forced the first corner of the half in the 47th minute and another moment of controversy followed when Hartley was penalised on the edge of the box and let his frustration get the better of him. The outburst only earned him a yellow card and Celtic won their first corner of the half three minutes later. Aberdeen cleared and a foul on Hartley by Izaguirre prevented the captain from breaking. Celtic went close again in the 54th minute when Commons fired wide after collecting a pass from Stokes.
In the 56th minute Maguire ended up on the seat of his pants inside the Celtic box, but a penalty award would have been soft. Two minutes later strong play from Maguire won the ball for Aberdeen, but the referee adjudged the challenge illegal. Then an accidental collision earned Vernon a yellow card and this produced a chant of "cheat, cheat" from the home support. Just after the hour mark a Milsom effort failed to test Forster as Aberdeen, against the odds, tried to level the game. Maguire was then booked in the 64th minute after winning the ball cleanly against Wilson. An incident that the stand side assistant must have seen.
Commons should have made it 2-0 in the 66th minute when he out-run Smith, rounded Langfield and somehow hit the post. A minute later Stokes actually stopped playing when he had a great chance to score, because he was too busy trying to claim a second penalty. Celtic pressure was building now and a combination of Langfield and Milsom blocked another effort. Celtic were now taking advantage of a tiring ten men as they forced Aberdeen on to the back foot.
The Hoops forced a corner in the 75th minute and all the hard work was undone by some poor defending as Wilson was given a free header at the front post. A Hartley effort a minute later went inches over before Pawlett replaced Blackman. Stokes then added a third in the 78th minute as the Dons looked tired after a stout defence against all odds. The Dons continued to get denied as Celtic were awarded another corner when Stokes had gone into the challenge with his foot at head height.
The biggest ironic cheer of the evening, and there were one or two, was heard in the 87th minute as a first Celtic player earned a caution when Mulgrew tripped Maguire on the edge of the box. The free kick hit the wall before another corner followed, but Aberdeen could not find a goal. In the closing seconds a long ball from McArdle found Vernon and his first time pass just evaded the outstretched leg of Maguire. Then in injury time Forster was at full stretch to save from Vernon. Aberdeen may have lost, but anyone who witnessed this match will appreciate that the story behind this match tells so much more than the score line suggests.