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Aberdeen v Celtic Preview
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“It’s a reflection on the efforts of everyone at AFC. The players are fortunate they have good staff working for them at the club. Any award which shows the club in a good light is welcome of course.
“I think any time you get off to a good start and possibly a six game winning run at the start of a league campaign it would be a brilliant start.
“At the minute we’ve made a solid start.
“We’ve had three tough away games within that so that pleases me no end. Privately we worked to those 5 games to try and get maximum points. We now start the next section of games. Any time you play the teams in and around you, and we play 3 teams in the next week who are in and around us, does have that extra bit of significance. It’s early on but you need to find a way to win these games.
“Celtic have recruited well this year. They’ve offloaded those who weren’t in and around the squad but they’ve brought good players in. They made some good signings. I think in certain areas they are stronger but for us we are happy. We feel we’ve put together a really competitive, talented squad, full of good players, plenty of pace in the team and we’re all ready to try and meet the challenge of being better than last year. The aim is always to win and some games are tougher than others. Naturally games against Celtic are tougher to win but we still feel we can win it.
“We want to improve on last season. We’ve still got a lot to prove though. We’ve improved the squad in each of the seasons since I’ve been here.
“I think for those that watch us on a regular basis they will see a real competitive edge in our play regardless of opponent. Our results last season against Celtic are well documented but I still believe our performances were decent. We know it’s a big game but I think Celtic domestically also see this as a big game coming to Pittodrie. The game will be reflective of that. Two teams determined to try and win the game and there will be a lot of good players on show.
“It’s result over performance.
“I think the sell-out was anticipated and the tickets have gone really quickly. That adds to it. It’s great to have a packed stadium with a majority of Aberdeen fans behind us and hopefully they see their team competing and winning.
“We want to build something here that is authentic and solid. We want to be in the fight throughout. We want to maintain performances, maintain having good players within the club and I think we have that. We’re looking for something to continue to aspire to here.
“Everyone is fit. That was the only real concern from having the friendly game against Stavanager but all the international boys have reported back ok.”
Match Page - Formation
Match Page - Text Commentary
Aberdeen 2 Celtic 1
Aberdeen lined up with three at the back, with Paul Quinn coming back into the side. It was Celtic though who started strongly and the Dons were lucky to escape when a Griffiths free kick deflected off the bar. Aberdeen then came back into it and had a couple of half chances before Celtic out of nothing took the lead. A quick long free kick by Mulgrew was sent into the direction of Griffiths who turned Considine. When the defender tried to recover the situation he was adjudged to have pulled down the Celtic striker. The Aberdeen defender was booked. Griffiths beat Ward with the spot kick despite Danny Ward going the right way. The goal lifted the visitors and the Dons did well to see it out till half time and even should have levelled just before the broke but McLean failed to make contact with a Hayes cross.
In the second half Aberdeen took control. The Dons midfield were outstanding with Graeme Shinnie again immense. And it was Shinnie who would get Aberdeen back into the game when was taken down in the box by a rash tackle from Boyata on the byeline. Adam Rooney had all the pressure on his shoulders but coolly sent Gordon the wrong way and slotted home.
Before that Craig Thomson had failed to award Aberdeen a penalty when Mulgrew handled in the box. Thomson again became the centre of attention. After the equaliser it looked like there would only be one winner but with the Dons well on top Jonny Hayes was controversially sent off for a foul on Lustig.
The 18,000 Aberdeen fans were then brilliant as they lifted the 10 men. Aberdeen still were the better team and in the 86th Pittodrie erupted. Niall McGinn floated over a free kick which no Celtic player attacked and Paul Quinn was able to stab the ball past Craig Gordon inside the six yard box.
The final minutes were nervous as Forrest put over a couple of dangerous balls and Considine had to clear a Griffiths shot off the line but Aberdeen held out for a famous win.
After struggling to get out of their own half, on eight minutes Ash Taylor intercepted a pass and found himself driving forward. He played it wide to Rooney’s whose ball in was dangerous and Boyata had to knock it behind for a corner. Hayes ball in was very good but Celtic just managed to clear.
You could tell that set pieces were going to be very important this afternoon.
On 11 minutes a really good spell of pressure from the Dons saw Considine swing in a ball which Rooney at full strength just missed and then McGinn coming in at the back post made contact but he could only direct the ball wide. A minute later from a Celtic corner Mulgrew had a free header but could not make anything from it.
On the quarter hour mark a major let off for the Dons. Quinn tripped Johansen on the edge of the area. Left footed, Griffiths took the free kick and his deflected effort hit the crossbar with Ward completely beaten. Back came the Dons who won a corner on 18 minutes. Hayes ball in was met by Considine who had made a great run into the space in the six yard box but he could not keep his header down. It was a decent chance. Then a few minutes later another chance for Considine. The defender came in on the blind side of Lustig and got on the end of McLean’s chipped ball in. Just as he was away to shot Andy slipped at the wrong moment. Seconds later a Hayes cross was met by McLean but Gordon made a terrific save. However referee Craig Thomson had awarded a free kick for a push by the Aberdeen midfielder.
On the half hour mark Rooney broke before playing it wide to McGinn. Niall’s ball in looked like landing on the head of Hayes but Gordon did well to catch the ball with an outstretched arm.
After 33 minutes a very soft free kick was given in the middle of the park by referee Thomson after Shinnie had won the ball. A great ball direct ball by Mulgrew was played directly into the box looking for Griffiths. He managed to get the better of Considine and turn the defender. As Andy tried to get back he was adjudged to have pulled Griffiths back and when the Celtic striker hit the floor the referee pointed to the spot and Andy was booked. The Celtic players appealed for a red card as he looked to be the last defender. Danny Ward had done his homework and guessed the right way but Griffiths well taken spot kick was low and in the corner.
The goal was a major body blow for the Dons who had competed well up to that point. Celtic then enjoyed a good spell and Aberdeen did well to hold them out. And they should even have equalised before the break. On 42 minutes Kenny McLean failed to make contact with a brilliant Hayes cross. Kenny made a great late run into the box but he should have scored.
Right at the start of the second half there was a bit of a ‘stramash’ on the half way line. That, and the manager’s team talk at half time fired the Dons into action and they were the better team from that point on. They picked up the pace of the game and McGinn and Hayes were delivering some great balls from wide areas. On 50 minutes there was a very strong penalty claim when Mulgrew handled a cross from right from Logan. The ex Dons defender did have his arm down by his side but it clearly struck him and the distance the ball travelled, he had time to move it out the way.
Then just before the hour mark Aberdeen did get a penalty.
Graeme Shinnie, who was quite outstanding in the middle of the park, made for the by-line and when he checked his run Boyata came in with a clumsy tackle. Adam Rooney grabbed the ball and confidently stepped forward, put Gordon the wrong way and rolled the back into the net. Pittodrie erupted. It was Adam’s 50th career goal in Scottish football.
This was the first time in a league game in a long while the Dons had recovered from going a goal behind to Celtic. By the hour mark Celtic had lost control of the game and were struggling to deal with the Dons pace in the middle of the park. They were picking up a number of yellow cards for late tackles.
On the hour mark Hayes played a great ball in from the left, another great delivery at pace, and it was almost met by Rooney but he could not enough of a contact. Frustratingly Quinn was coming in behind him and it would be a good opportunity. Five minutes later another excellent cross, this time from McGinn from the right. McLean made contact but could only direct the ball over the bar.
Aberdeen were well on top and looked likely to go on and win the game. But 70 minutes in disaster struck. Jonny Hayes lost a ball after another good period of pressure. Jonny then made a strong tackle on Lustig and immediately Thomson flashed a red card. It was a strong tackle from the Dons winger but his feet were not off the ground and referee might have been better taking a few seconds to have a think before producing the card.
The reaction from both players involved made it obvious the referee had made a mistake.
Despite being down to ten men the Dons still looked the better team. Celtic made a couple of substitutions but had to wait until the 78th minute for their first shot on goal during the second half. Sub James Forrest tried to beat Considine before playing the ball across the face of goal. It looked close but Ward has his angles spot on. A few minutes later Forrest had another chance but his finish was weak.
On 80 minutes Josh Parker replaced Adam Rooney. It was a good chance but the manager as Josh was able to use his pace to cover more ground up front. Aberdeen were defending well and still offering something in attack. With three minutes to go Niall McGinn sped down the left wing and was taken out by sub Ambrose. He was booked, Celtic’s fourth of the afternoon.
Niall McGinn took the free kick and floated a good ball into the danger zone. Gordon did not come for it and Quinn inside the six yard box was able to tap the ball past the Celtic keeper. Pittodrie went mental. It is a long time since the old stadium had been rocking like this.
The Dons now had three minutes of injury time to see out. Straight after the goal Willo Flood came on for McGinn. Aberdeen were defending well but in the 91st minute Griffiths rounded Ward. The keeper did enough to force him wide but it still looked like the Celtic striker would score. His shot at goal appeared to be going in but Considine did brilliantly to get back and clear the ball on the line.
The crowd were magnificent all afternoon, especially when the Dons went down to ten men, and they helped the players to see out the final minutes for a famous, and historic win.