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Aberdeen 0 - 1 Celtic

HT Score: Aberdeen 0 - 0 Celtic

Celtic scorers: Stokes 74

07/08/2011 | KO: 12:15

Late Stokes Goal Tough on Dons

A desperately unlucky defeat for Aberdeen this afternoon against Celtic. It was a much better 90 minutes from the Dons. They pressed Celtic throughout and stood up to the Glasgow side. Osbourne typified the performance with some crunching tackles in the middle of the park. At the back Arnason was outstanding and Celtic had very few clear cut chances.

At the other end Vernon forced Zaluska into a good save in the first half and after the break Mackie crossed for Vernon but the striker just failed to get enough on it. Then on 73 minutes against the run of play Celtic took the lead. Foster appeared to be fouled by Stokes but the referee waved play on. Stokes played it to Commons who pulled it back for Stokes and his shot was deflected past Gonzalez.

In the closing stages Celtic were happy to run the clock down and even time waste. That tells the whole story of how fortunate they were to leave Pittodrie with the three points.

The Dons made one change with Rory McArdle coming in at right back and Clark Robertson dropped to the bench. Foster reverted back to left back, Considine and Arnason were again in the centre of defence. In midfield Magennis was wide left, Milson and Osbourne in the middle and Pawlett wide right. Vernon and Mackie were partnered up front again.

Celtic started the game on top. They scored 21 goals against Aberdeen in five games last season so they thought they would be in for another comfortable afternoon. Although they had quite a bit of possession they failed to get in behind the Dons back four who looked very well organised and the Dons defence dealt well with anything that was thrown at them.

The only real effort of note was from Kris Commons who had a shot from distance which Gonzalez push wide. The keeper took no chances which was understandable. It was a difficult afternoon for goalkeepers as torrential rain over night and drizzle all morning had left the pitch wet.

After about 10 minutes Aberdeen started to get going. A great run by Peter Pawlett opened up the Celtic defence. Peter played the ball to Mackie who shuffled the ball on to Milson. Rob had Josh outside him but he was unhappy with his positioning and therefore elected to shoot and his shot was blocked.

A minute later Mackie did well and crossed for Vernon who was just unable to make contact. Then Vernon won a corner. The ball broke out to Foster who put in a good cross. Magennis headed the ball back across goal but again there was no red jersey there - the problem Aberdeen have had all season so far in the final third of the pitch.

That little flurry though gave the Dons confidence and they then produced some great tackling. The midfield four were all getting fired in. Something that certainly did not happen last season. On 15 minutes Pawlett tracked back to put in an outstanding tackle on Izaguirre. Unfortunately for Celtic the left back he fell awkwardly and had to be stretchered off. The full back is now likely to be out for a while. He was eventually replaced by Charlie Mulgew. When the game restarted Milson won another corner but again the outswinger from Milson was headed clear.

On 19 minutes Pawlett was booked for challenge on Charlie Mulgrew. The Aberdeen bench exploded with anger. It seemed ref Murray, who actually had a fine game and let the game flow, had been influenced by what had happened before with the same player.

A quarter of the game gone and the Dons were looking good. At least they were not standing off Celtic. When they needed to defend they were doing so and not letting them in behind. After sustained pressure on the edge of the box Ki's shot was deflected off Foster for a corner. Again good defending. From the corner the ball fell Kayal who shot just over. Stokes then had a chance but shot straight at Gonzalez. On 35 minutes Majstorovic was booked for a studs up tackle on Milsom. Then as Pawlett made another of his forward bursts he was hauled down by Ledley but no free kick was given. A strange decision.

The game had all of a sudden become end to end. Hooper had a shot which was well saved by Gonzalez and then at the other end Vernon flicked the ball onto Mackie. He then played Vernon in but his shot was well saved by Zaluska. Celtic finished the half with some more pressure but McArdle made an excellent block to stop Hooper.

In the second half the game continued in a similar vein with the ball going from one end to the other.

Magennis flicked on for Vernon. His shot though was charged down. Then Vernon almost got in behind the defence after another great ball by Josh but Majstorovic produced a great last ditch tackle. The sun finally came out - and with it came a period of sustained pressure for the Dons.

Back came Celtic though. The dangerous Commons crossed for Ki but his header went just wide. A good chance and the first free header Aberdeen had allowed in the box.

The Dons then had an even better chance to open the scoring. On 56 minutes Magennis flicked the ball onto Mackie. He went down the wing and put in a brilliant cross for Scott Vernon at the front post. However Scott did not manage to make proper contact. A golden opportunity wasted. On 60 minutes Gonzalez thrilled the crowd when he decided to do some neat foot work in the box to beat Hooper. Thankfully the big Columbian knew exactly what he was doing!

At this stage the Dons were looking the better team and Celtic were beginning to run out of ideas. On 63 minutes Ledley came off and James Forrest went on. Aberdeen also made a tactical change when Magennis and Pawlett swapped wings as the game moved in the final quarter.

Commons fell over in the box. Whilst the Celtic players were appealing for a penalty Hooper had a shot which looked as if it was going goalward but the shot was well blocked by Considine.

Pawlett gave away a free kick in a dangerous area. Even more dangerous with Mulgrew on the pitch but thankfully the former Don got it all wrong and it went high and wide. On 71 minutes Pawlett, who was struggling with cramp, was substituted and Paton came on. Milsom then broke forward. He had Mackie to his left and Vernon to his right. He chose to go right but Vernon slipped as he was about to shoot.

Then on 73 minutes against the run of play Celtic took the lead. Foster appeared to be fouled by Stokes but the referee waved play on. Stokes played it to Common s who pulled it back to Stokes and his shot was deflected past Gonzalez. On 80 minutes Mitchel Megginson came on to replace Magennis. Goalscorer Stokes was replaced by Samaras. With Aberdeen trying to get back into the game spaces were for the first time appearing. Common's played in Forrest but Gonzalez made a great block and the ball thankfully looped up and over the bar.

A mix up at the back almost allowed Paton threw on goal. It appeared as if Wilson obstructed the Aberdeen player. Technically it was probably a foul but you are unlikely to get a penalty for that. Especially against the Old Firm.  Mulgrew crossed for Samaras who headed just wide and on 85 minutes Nicky Low replaced Mackie who had worked his socks off. The striker had an excellent game. Osbourne was booked for a foul. It was certainly a booking! In injury time Nicky Low fired over. The Dons final chance.

In the closing stages Celtic were happy to run the clock down and even time waste. That tells the whole story of how fortunate they were to leave Pittodrie with the three points.

Aberdeen Teamsheet
Gonzalez, McArdle, Arnason, Considine, Foster, Mackie (Low 87), Osbourne, Milsom, Pawlett (Paton 72), Magennis (Megginson 82), Vernon.

Unused Subs: Brown, Robertson, Shaughnessy, Brown.

Bookings:  Pawlett (20),  Osbourne (90).
Celtic Teamsheet
Lukasz Zaluska, Adam Matthews, Kelvin Wilson, Daniel Majstorovic, Emilio Izaguirre (Charlie Mulgrew 17), Sung-Yeung Ki, Joe Ledley (James Forrest 63), Beram Kayal, Kris Commons, Anthony Stokes (Georgios Samaras 82), Gary Hooper. Unused Subs: Patrick McCourt, Victor Wanyama, Don Cervi, Shaun Maloney.

Bookings:  Daniel Majstorovic 36
Attendance: 12,497
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Referee: Calum Murray