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Celtic 2 - 3 Aberdeen

HT Score: Celtic 1 - 2 Aberdeen

Celtic scorers: Hartson 45, Hartson 69
Aberdeen scorers: Mackie 4, Pasquinelli 6, Stewart 90.

27/10/2004 | KO: 19:45

Dons grab sensational late win

Aberdeen recorded a sensational victory at Celtic Park tonight to make it two wins in a row in the East End of Glasgow. The match had a sensational start and a sensational finish with some tremendous defending in between. Aberdeen were 2-0 ahead after six minutes courtesy of goals from Darren Mackie and Fernando Pasquinelli. The Dons then faced an onslaught and held out until the 45th minute when Hartson pulled one back. The same player added a second after the break and as Aberdeen looked to have held out for a draw substitute John Stewart picked an opportune moment to grab his first goal for the club with a great finish in the third minute of injury time.

Celtic started positively and won a corner in the opening minute of the match that Aberdeen cleared comfortably. Hart made a dashing run forward a minute later before being halted on the 18yard line by Neil Lennon. Following a poor clearance from Preece, Aberdeen broke and Pasquinelli won the Dons their first corner of the match. The Dons then grabbed a sensational lead from the set play as Adams fired in a dangerous delivery that was flicked on by Pasquinelli and headed into the net at the far post by Darren Mackie.

The red army were on their feet again two minutes later when a short pass back put Marshall under pressure and he cleared the ball off of Pasquinelli allowing the Dons forward to tap the ball into the net. No one could have predicted this start but not surprisingly the home side came storming back to try and get back into the match. The Dons good fortune took a turn for the worse in the 9th minute when a heavy challenge from Balde knocked the Dons keeper on to his upright. Although Preece continued he was clearly in trouble and was replaced by Esson in the 13th minute cutting short his 100th appearance.

Celtic were winning a series of corners as they put the Dons defence under pressure and the visitors were lucky to escape a penalty claim in the 12th minute when Tosh appeared to trip Hartson inside the box. Willie Young was unimpressed much to the fury of the home fans. McNaughton was the hero in the 15th minute when he cleared a Sutton header off the line and two minutes later Hartson fired over the bar as Celtic set up camp in the Dons box. Aberdeen broke out in the 24th minute as Mackie used his pace and found Adams. The midfielder set up McNaughton but he failed to find the target. Celtic went close four minutes later when Juninho fired over from six yards.

Although the Dons were under immense pressure they managed another break on the half hour mark and McNaughton should have taken on Neil Lennon as he drove in on goal. He released a pass instead and the chance was gone although seconds later Anderson went close as he tried to chip Marshall in the Celtic goal. McNamara and Sutton went close in the 32nd and 34th minute before Aberdeen broke again and forced a couple of set plays. Adams drove in the second and McGuire almost made it three but headed wide. Gaps were beginning to appear in the Celtic defence and Mackie and Pasquinelli had a chance after 37 minutes as the game raged from end to end.

Aberdeen went close again in the 40th minute as the Celtic defence looked increasingly shaky and struggled to cope with Adams set play deliveries. With two minutes of the half remaining the impressive Mackie won another corner for the Dons that was eventually scrambled clear by the Celtic defence. The fourth official then displayed four minutes of injury time mainly due to the treatment required by David Preece. In the 45th minute the Dons scrambled the ball clear but the defence was finally breached when Sutton held up a long pass and set up his striking partner Hartson who drilled the ball past Esson. The Dons then survived three corners in injury time to hold on to their lead.

Celtic went straight into the attack after the break and Juninho fired over in the opening minute and won the first corner of the half in the 3rd minute. Esson came to claim the ball, but missed and fortunately he was not punished for the mistake. Three minutes later Tosh forced a save out of Marshall as the Dons looked to extend their lead then Hartson drilled a fierce shot at Esson in the 53rd minute but the keeper did well to block. Foster then replaced Pasquinelli in the 56th minute after the striker picked up a knock and three minutes later Celtic made a double substitution in an attempt to turn the match round.

Aberdeen were starting to get sloppy as they failed to hold on to possession although they still looked firm at the back. Tosh collected the first yellow card of the game when he downed McGeady in a dangerous position. Fortunately Wallace failed to lift the ball over the wall and the danger was cleared. Aberdeen were still on the back foot and attempting to hit Celtic on the break when Celtic drew level in the 69th minute through a Hartson volley which Esson might have been expected to stop. Aberdeen looked to lose a bit of self-belief when the equaliser went in but the cajoling of Jimmy Calderwood meant the players didn't feel sorry for themselves for too long.

Decisions were starting to go against the Dons now as first McNaughton looked to be clearly fouled and failed to get the decision then Celtic won a very soft free kick in a dangerous area which was fortunately well defended. McNamara drove wide in the 77th minute then Aberdeen were dealt another blow when McNaughton was forced to leave the field and was replaced by Stewart with Clark going back into the full back position and Foster dropping into the midfield. Wallace went down a bit to easily in the 82nd minute but referee Willie Young was not fooled and awarded a goal kick. Stewart broke a minute later but was halted by Balde but it did allow the Dons a few moments of possession before Mackie was penalised.

With five minutes remaining Esson once again looked uncertain at a corner as the Dons survived another penalty claim as the Celtic players appealed for handball. Anderson then collected a yellow card in the 87th minute and Hartson headed wide from the resulting free kick. A minute later Balde almost cut Foster in half and unbelievably escaped a booking. Adams hit the wall from the free kick and Severin drilled the rebound wide. The officials managed to find another four minutes of injury time as Aberdeen broke and had a penalty appeal turned down as Mackie was tumbled.

The game ended as sensationally as it started when John Stewart grabbed a winning goal in the fourth minute of injury time. The youngster picked the perfect time to score his first goal for the club as he chipped the ball over one defender and calmly drilled the ball past Marshall. This win certainly eclipses that victory last season when although it ended their 76 game unbeaten run the league was over by then. This result certainly means this league title race has been opened up.

Celtic Teamsheet
Marshall, Agathe, Varga, Balde, McNamara, Petrov, Lennon, Juninho (McGeady 59), Wallace, Sutton (Sylla 59), Hartson Unused Subs:
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Preece (Esson 13), Hart, McNaughton (Stewart 78), Severin, Anderson, McGuire, Clark, Tosh, Mackie, Pasquinelli (Foster 56), Adams.

Unused Subs: Morrison, Clark, Considine.

Bookings:  Tosh (65),  Anderson (87),  Stewart (90).
Attendance: 57,151
Venue: Celtic Park, Glasgow
Referee: Willie G. Young, Clarkston
Action from tonight's win at Celtic Park
Darren Mackie opens the scoring after only four minutes.
The young striker celebrates his early breakthrough.
Two minutes later Pasquinelli celebrates the second.
Hartson is out of luck this time.
Russell Anderson keeps a close eye on Chris Sutton.
John Hartson pulls the first one back for Celtic.
Jimmy Calderwood keeps his players calm while Martin O'Neil looks anxious.
John Stewart fires in the winner deep into injury time.
Time to celebrate a famous victory...
...and taste the bitterness of defeat.