Aberdeen lost out to the SPFL Champions by five goals to two, but the score line doesn't begin to tell the story of an entertaining match in Glasgow on the day which despite the defeat, saw The Dons clinch a return to European football.
Derek McInnes made 1 change to the side that drew 1-1 with St Johnstone 7 days prior to this one. In came Barry Robson in place of Clark Robertson. They lined up with Langfield in goal, a back four of Jack (RB), Anderson, Reynolds, Logan (LB). In midfield were Hayes, Flood, Robson & McGinn with Pawlett sitting just behind Adam Rooney in their usual formation.
The home side had plenty of the early possession, and there was early concern for The Dons when Pawlett went down clutching his face. There was a slight delay to proceedings while he received treatment.
Aberdeen gradually came more into the game and Ryan Jack played a good ball into the box which was poorly dealt with by Ambrose and McGinn picked up and tried an effort before Adam Rooney attempted a shot which took a massive deflection and went out for corner. From it, the home side broke upfield and worked the ball into the box. Griffiths looked odds on to score but Shay Logan made the first of a few vital blocks to deny hm.
On 12 minutes the home fans were claiming a foul when McGinn pinched the ball but nothing was given and he drove towards the box before unleashing a decent shot which went just wide of the left hand post. It was an interesting battle all afternoon between Barry Robson and Scott Brown in the centre of midfield.
Both sides exchanged spells of possession and although Celtic often worked the ball into the box quite often, Langfield rarely had much to do.
On 20 minutes, Commons headed over after a long ball from Mulgrew while up the other end Pawlett collected the ball in the box and tried to direct an effort on target but it deflected off a Celtic defender and into the hands of Forster.
5 minutes later, the home side took the lead. Johannsen found Brown in midfield who spread the ball out wide for Matthews. He advanced into the box, played it back to Brown who swivelled away from Robson and shot past Jamie Langfield.
Aberdeen responded well though and were level just 3 minutes later. Peter Pawlett nicked the ball away from Matthews on the edge of the box and the touch fell for McGinn who rounded Forster and prodded the ball into the net.
On 35 minutes, Logan was penalised for what looked like a decent challenge but the home side failed to take any advantage of the free kick which went safely through to Langfield. The visitors suffered a blow on 38 minutes though when Adam Rooney had to be substituted after a clash with Forster. Rooney had tried to play on for a few minutes but was struggling and after Celtic played keep ball for a while Scott Vernon eventually replaced him.
A few moments later, Vernon was involved when he fed a ball in from the right for Jonny Hayes who unleashed another effort which whistled just past the right hand post. Again though, the home side raced up the park and Matthews and Griffiths combined down the right and the former crossed into the box for Brown to powerfully drive home a second goal just before the break.
The Dons had barely had a touch of the ball in the second period when a long ball was played into Griffiths who turned to shoot but was thwarted by Shay Logan who challenged expertly. On 52 minutes, Reynolds fed the ball to Robson in the centre circle and Robson raced forward before unleashing another fine effort which Forster palmed away but no Dons player could latch on to the rebound. Seconds later the ball was in the net at the other end.
Johannsen played the ball to Stokes who found Mulgrew. His attempted shot unluckily bounced off Logan and fell to Stokes who pushed the ball into the net beyond Langfield. But The Dons weren't to stay 2 goals behind for long.
Flood played a short pass to Logan who cut in from the left, drove to the edge of the box before unleashing a terrific strike beyond Forster and into the back of the net. Game on.
0n 58 minutes, Van Dijk was awarded a soft foul after a challenge by Vernon and a couple of minutes later, Celtic tried an early free kick which was poorly taken and hit straight at McGinn. As he attempted to break away at pace he was checked by Mulgrew who was booked for his efforts.
Commons then attempted to chip the ball into the net beyond Langfield but the Dons keeper did well to turn it behind for a corner. The Dons defended it well and raced up the park. Jonny Hayes used his pace to put the Celtic defence on the back foot and when he drove into the box, Ambrose blocked his run and he went down. Referee Brines waved away the appeals of the Dons players and fans in what looked like a poor decision.
Another good spell of possession followed for The Dons who continued to play with real attacking intent in an attempt to get a vital equaliser but they were undone again on 67 minutes when Johannsen found Stokes who played a neat ball through the Dons defence to Commons who hit a first time shot beyond Langfield. After that the game fell into a bit of a lull with very little atmosphere inside Parkhead- both sides knocking the ball about for spells. The next opportunity fell to the visitors on 73 minutes, Vernon crossing a dangerous ball in towards Pawlett which Van Dijk had to head over for a corner.
The Dons made their second change when Cammy Smith came on to replace Barry Robson and the youngster played well in the remaining time. The Dons won themselves a couple of corners in quick succession but all too often the home defenders seemed to get a head on anything thrown into the box. Then they created a couple of chances within a matter of minutes, Hayes finding McGinn who cut in from the left and fired in a shot which Forster had to tip over the bar. Seconds later, Willo Flood hit the upright with a low effort from 25 yards
Despite having the better of the final stages, The Dons lost another goal when Mulgrew found Kayal who prodded it through to Commons and he slotted low past Langfield into the back of the net. The Dons will probably feel they should have defended that one (and a few of the other goals) better. Langfield was called into action again in the final few minutes and did well to grab the ball off Izaguire as he looked to add another one. Declan McManus replaced Peter Pawlett in the final few minutes.
In the end it finished 5-2 to Celtic, a scoreline which flattered the hosts and which certainly didn't reflect Aberdeen's contribution to an entertaining game. Nonetheless, results elsewhere saw Dundee United drop points in Inverness which meant that the Dons will return to European football next season.