Derek McInnes made one change to the side that lost to Hearts, with Joe Shaughnessy returning to the side, replacing the injured Willo Flood. The Dons lined up with Langfield in goal, a back four of Shaughnessy, Anderson, Reynolds and Considine. Hector and Jack were the sitting midfielders with Hayes and McGinn covering the wide areas and Pawlett playing just off Zola upfront.
From the outset the Dons were well organised and in the opening stages they coped well with Celtic's attacks. In fact Aberdeen were the first side to get a shot on goal when Hector showed some good skill at the edge of the area and got a shot on target but Forster saved comfortably. On 10 minutes Celtic got their first shot on target when Fisher and Commons combined with a neat one two but Fisher's effort was straight at Langfield. Then on 13 minutes Fisher had another effort from distance which went wide. Although the home side were now enjoying all the possession they were having to hit shots from distance.
After quarter of an hour Niall McGinn won the Dons their first corner of the game. Hayes took it and drilled in a low ball which was cleared. The delivery was not the best but he was obviously trying some kind of pre-planned move.
Back came Celtic and on 17 minutes Fisher had a strong run into the box. It looked like he would have a clear shot at goal but Anderson and Considine did just enough to get back, put pressure on the Celtic player which forced him to shot over. On 20 minutes Samaras got a powerful shot away which took a horrible bounce in front of Langfield. The keeper did well though to get his body behind the shot and to strongly push the ball away from the danger area.Celtic were at this point still enjoying most of the possession but the Dons were looking sharp on the break and on 21 minutes McGinn created space for himself but his snap shot from a tight angle was saved by Forster who stood tall at the near post. A minute later Izaguirre got a cross into the box from the left side which was met by Pukki but Langfield was again well positioned to make a comfortable save. Derek McInnes was concerned with the traffic attacking the Dons right side so he made a tactical switch and Michael Hector was put back in there to form a back five.
On 28 minutes the Dons won another corner and in another pre-arranged move the ball was played short to Hayes but his shot was blocked. The Dons at this point were beginning to look comfortable and the new formation was preventing Celtic from getting an attacks going in the final third. However on 35 minutes, from absolutely nothing the Glasgow side took the lead. Izaguirre played in the cross which Langfield came out to meet and through a ruck of players he punched clear. However the ball landed at the feet of Commons at the edge of the area and the Celtic player hit a well placed shot past everyone into the net. A soft goal from the Dons point of view.
On 41 mins Samaras was rightly booked for late lunge on Hector. It was probably the only bad tackle in the whole game. It is very easy to criticise referee's so it is only fair to say Craig Thomson had one of his better games today and let the game flow.
The Dons finished the half strongly and on a couple of occasions put in good crosses which the Celtic defence did not deal with convincingly. Aberdeen then scored with a superbly worked goal on the stroke of half time. This time they got the corner move absolutely right. Hayes drilled it to Considine at the edge of the area. He headed it goal wards and Zola flicked it over Forster. The ball was headed off the line but Hector was in there to head it goal wards again and although the ball was blocked McGinn was on hand to bundle it over the line.
Celtic started the second half strongly and Ledley went down in the box looking for a penalty. The referee quite rightly waved play on and the Celtic player was fortunate not to get booked for diving. A minute later the same player tried a shot from distance and the ball was heading into the top hand corner but Langfield did well to jump to his left and tip the ball over the bar. Celtic then for the first time in the game put some real pressure on the Dons but Aberdeen did well to defend a couple of corners and on the break Hayes was very nearly put in the clear but McGinn's pass just failed to find him. A couple of times the Dons broke at pace and it was just the final pass which let them down. The Celtic defence never looked convincing at any point during the afternoon.
Charlie Mulgrew then tried his luck from distance on a couple of occasions in minutes 53 and 56. The Dons defence were restricting Celtic again to shots from distance.
The game then burst to life on the hour mark as both teams went close. On 58 minutes Samaras laid the ball into the path Pukki who had an opening but he made a complete mess of his shot and the ball went harmlessly wide. Then a minute later a long throw from Shaughnessy caused sorts of problems in the Celtic penalty area. The ball found its way to Hector at the edge of the area and his shot appeared to be on target but unfortunately Hayes got in the way of it. Then from a long ball Samaras found himself in behind the Dons defence, his shot beat the onrushing Langfield but thankfully for the Dons his shot hit the post.
On 63 minutes Neil Lennon made his first substitution of the afternoon, Pukki was replaced by Boerrigter. A minute later Celtic had another good chance to score when Commons broke clear on the left and got a shot away but Langfield made an excellent save to get a touch on the shot which kept it out.At this point you felt as though it might just be the Dons day.
On 70 minutes Derek McInnes made his first changes. Josh Magennis replaced Zola upfront, Josh was outstanding the last time Aberdeen played at Celtic Park, and Hayes was replaced by Gregg Wylde. It looked as though Jonny had taken a knock. Celtic also made a change, Fisher was replaced by Lustig. On 78 minutes Celtic made their last change with Ledley going off and Balde coming on but this time the home fans were beginning to leave and the Dons were looking as comfortable as they had done at any point of the afternoon.
In fact it was the Dons who looked the fitter and stronger side in the closing stages and they created some great chances. On 79 minutes they won a corner and Shaughnessy had a completely free header but he mistimed his jump and did not get enough on the ball.On 83 minutes another long throw caused problems in the Celtic box. This time the ball fell back to McGinn and his volley was well struck but unfortunately was hit straight at Forster. He almost connected too well with the ball, either side of the keeper and it was probably a goal. The Dons kept coming at the home side and in the 87th minute the Celtic defence failed to deal with a bouncing ball in the area. Magennis nipped in behind the defence and knocked the ball back to McGinn and his shot appeared to be heading into the net but agonisingly it rebounded off the post across the goal line and Celtic were then able to clear. It appeared as though Forster got a touch on the ball, if he did it was a great save.
Back came Celtic and on two occasions Reynolds did well to clear dangerous crosses into the box. On the 90th minute Wylde was forced into the left full back area and was forced to give away a corner. All afternoon Aberdeen had dealt with balls into the area but on this occasion Samaras was able to win a header and although Langfield made a good save from close range the ball fell to Boerrigter and he knocked it in from close range.
Derek McInnes immediately made a change and Joe Shaughnessy was replaced by Scott Vernon but it was Celtic who went on the attack and Commons was able to get his second of the afternoon as he tapped in from close range after Langfield again had saved.
The Dons players looked shell shocked at full time. There are such fine margins when it comes to winning and losing these big games. This was a game they should have got something from.