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Celtic V Aberdeen | Match Preview

May 11, 2018 5:51 pm Author: Matthew Findlay

We preview the final league game of the 2017/18 campaign.

On Sunday Aberdeen play their final match of the season with a trip to face champions, Celtic in Glasgow. It marks the 48th match of another long campaign and The Dons will go to Celtic Park knowing a fourth consecutive second place is on the cards if they can win. The draw on Tuesday night against Rangers as well as Hearts’ victory over Hibernian in the Edinburgh Derby means The Dons cannot finish lower than third spot, meaning European football is coming back to Pittodrie once again. To guarantee the runners-up place Aberdeen have to do something they haven’t done in the league in 14 years and that is win in Glasgow’s East End.

Celtic go into the match having already clinched their seventh league title in a row and have the Scottish Cup Final against Motherwell next week to potentially win a second treble in a row. It won’t be easy for The Dons with the hosts playing for Cup Final places, but they can look at their recent form as a reason to be optimistic heading into the final match. The Dons have won two and drawn two in the split so far, with Celtic having dropped points against Hibernian and Kilmarnock. Although it has not been a happy hunting ground for Aberdeen since the turn of the century, Derek McInnes has tasted victory over Celtic with The Dons in the Scottish Cup during his first campaign back in 2014.

WHAT THE MANAGER SAID

“It’s certainly the toughest fixture. When the post-split fixtures came out I was actually pleased with what we had. I was hoping we had one more win before we went to Celtic Park, but in saying that you have to beat good teams to achieve anything and for us even the other night against Rangers it was far more like us in terms of competitive. I didn’t think there was a lot of good football played in terms of the technical side of it, but normally that is the way when Aberdeen and Rangers play.

“Being in Europe doesn’t take the pressure off us. I’m happy for us to go relax

d and try show ourselves, but there’s a danger of being too relaxed and being satisfied with your work. I’m delighted to get into Europe which is obviously something that’s very important to us and it was brilliant to achieve that again for the fifth season in a row. Finishing second is what we’ve been looking at for a while now and we want to maintain that.”

Read more from Derek’s press conference here

WHAT JOE LEWIS SAID

“Belief is a big thing for any team going to Celtic Park. You’ve got to believe you can get the result and I think some teams will go down there and say the right things like we are now, but you must really believe you can do it. Words don’t mean anything, and you need to go and show it. Be brave on the pitch, not in terms of sticking your body on the line, but in terms of getting on the ball and maybe risky passes that you would normally to get a result at a good team. We’re playing Celtic on their patch and bravery and belief is a key thing to getting a result.

“There’s an expectation amongst ourselves to go and put a performance in. There’ll be a good following from our fans and it’s still a massive game for everyone involved at the football club. Perhaps from a sense that is European football confirmed it’s a relief to have that in the bag, but it doesn’t take away from the motivation we’ve got to go down there and get the three points.”

Read more from Joe’s press conference here


The Dons On The Road 2017/18

For the second season in a row The Dons are on their travels to Glasgow on the final day. It’s been another excellent away campaign in the league from Derek McInnes’s side and they have a near identical record to their home form. A win on Sunday would mean an eleventh win on the road, which is the same number of wins at Pittodrie.

With the guarantee of European football next season, The Red Army will be looking out their passports once again just as they did at the start of this campaign. The first away trip took The Dons to Bosnia & Herzegovina with the first leg of the Europa League tie finishing a 1-1 draw, so the advantage was with the home side. The Dons were resolute throughout and had opportunities of their own but had to wait till the final twenty minutes to go ahead. New signings Greg Stewart and Gary Mackay-Steven then combined in seven minutes to put The Dons in the driving seat and they never looked back. A 2-0 win on the night in 90’F heat ensured another fine away display in Europe under Derek McInnes. Unfortunately, the Reds were unable to replicate their performance in the next round going down 2-0 to Cypriot outfit Apollon Limassol in a game marred by disruptive antics from the home supporters, which meant the match was a stop/start affair and The Dons bowed out of Europe.

The first away trip in the league was to Dingwall and over 2,000 Dons fans travelled to the Highlands for a 2-1 win. The game produced a goal of the season contender from Mark Reynolds, who thumped a volley in from inside the box and another late winner from Shay Logan against his favourite opponent. The Dons were then faced with a trip to the home of Scottish Rugby – Murrayfield for the league match against Hearts. Tynecastle was being redeveloped and the Jambos were playing down the road so a  7,000-strong away support took advantage of the novelty fixture and travelled to the capital hoping to see another win. On the day it was the man between the sticks, Joe Lewis who was the hero as he produced save after save to deny Hearts and The Dons settled for a goalless draw.

Despite being dumped out the League Cup by Motherwell at Fir Park, The Dons made amends three days later with a gritty performance as Andy Considine got the winner. Another highlight that day was the introduction to Scott McKenna in the heart of the defence and eight months later the young centre half has exceeded all expectations. He was capped twice for Scotland including a man of the match display in the win out in Hungary, was a nominee in the SPFL Young Player of The Year awards and rounded off the season by sweeping up a hatrick of awards at the AFC Player of The Year dinner, taking home Goal Of The Season, Young Player of The Year and Player Of The Year.

The first defeat in the league for The Dons came at Ibrox at the end of November. On a difficult night Aberdeen went down 3-0 to Rangers and three days later would lose 2-1 to the same opponent in the reverse fixture at Pittodrie. The Dons would bounce back with two wins on Tayside against Dundee and St Johnstone. The match in Perth was arguably the best performance on the road as The Dons played some scintillating football to run out 3-0 winners. Aberdeen would then lose the last away game of 2017 and the first of 2018 when they went down twice in Glasgow to the Old Firm.

The Dons breezed through home ties against Championship sides St Mirren and Dundee United to set up a Quarter-Final clash with a rejuvenated Kilmarnock. At Pittodrie the teams played out a 1-1 draw, which meant a replay in Ayrshire on a Wednesday night. Backed by a noisy and excellent following, The Dons battled hard in a nervy affair. Extra time came and Killie looked to have one foot in the Semi-Final when Stephen O’Donnell put the hosts ahead. The Dons came flying back however and Kenny McLean sent the game to a shootout with a penalty of his own before the extra time interval. The night belonged to new loan goalkeeper, Freddie Woodman. The former Kilmarnock ‘keeper, who had won the U20 World Cup last year with England stepped up and saved three penalties that sent The Dons back to Hampden. Unfortunately, The Dons were undone by Motherwell yet again and went down 3-0 at the National Stadium.

Arguably the most exciting post-split fixtures in years were produced and with The Dons still in pole position to finish second they travelled back to Kilmarnock to keep ahead of the chasing back. Once again a professional performance at Rugby Park ensured Derek McInnes’s 100% record in Ayrshire as Dons manager was intact.

The final day is upon us and The Dons fans can look back at another fine season, despite new challenges of big spending Rangers and newly promoted Hibernian. As always there have been plenty of high notes as well as some low points, but The Red Army have backed the team all over Scotland and Europe and will look for one last performance from the team to secure second spot.

 


SUPPORTER INFORMATION

GETTING TO THE GAME

There are no traffic or road issues near the stadium. The weather forecast shows that it will be about 13 degrees at the 12.30pm KO with cloud and a 40% chance of rain.

Please check local and national radio for ongoing trouble spots.  Supporters are advised to routinely check the Transport Scotland and Traffic Scotland websites for live updates.

Supporters coaches (including the disabled supporters coach) and minibuses are advised to park in Springfield Road.

AT THE STADIUM

Aberdeen supporters will be accommodated in sections 119 -120 at Celtic Park.  Access is via turnstiles 66 & 67 which open at 11am. Please arrive as early as possible to ensure that you get in before kick off at 12.30pm.

Stewards and Police will be vigilant at the turnstiles and supporters should expect to be searched. Tickets are for allocated seating. This is particularly important due to restricted view seating, which is prevalent in the Aberdeen area. Please respect any requests by Stewards or Police.

Celtic FC implement the same rules and regulations surrounding unacceptable behaviour as Aberdeen FC, so please abide by these. Please refer to Celtic FC’s website for more information.

There is no smoking permitted in the stadium and strictly no pyrotechnic devices.

Please expect any flags to be examined for their content before being allowed entry. NO LARGE BAGS ARE PERMITTED. All other bags will be searched. Do expect to be searched.

The Aberdeen Support will NOT be held back at the conclusion of the game as there will be further ongoings in the stadium for Celtic fans.

REDTV

If you can’t make the game at Celtic Park on Sunday we will have live audio and video for International Subscribers from 12.15pm. Post-match we will have reaction, interviews and a full match replay.

Thank you for the tremendous backing this season and see you all for another European tour in the summer.

STAND FREE!

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Report | Celtic 0 Aberdeen 1 : Live

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Report | Celtic 0 Aberdeen 1

May 13, 2018 3:09 pm Author: Malcolm Panton

 

Aberdeen have secured second spot in the Ladbrokes Premiership after a thoroughly deserved victory over Celtic this afternoon in Glasgow. The only goal of the game came shortly after the interval when Kenny McLean picked out Andrew Considine and he fired home. The Dons put in a brilliant defensive display throughout the 90 minutes.

Match report

Derek McInnes was forced to make two changes with Mark Reynolds and Greg Stewart replacing the suspended Scott McKenna and the ineligible Ryan Christie who was unable to play against his parent club.

In the first minute Forrest was able to get a cross over from the right but Stewart did well at the back post to get the better of Tierney. A few minutes later Dembele produced some good movement but his forward pass could not find the run of Forrest. On five minutes Logan was adjudged to have fouled Dembele. Celtic had a free kick in a promising position but made a mess of a pre-planned move.

On seven minutes a long diagonal from Reynolds was flicked on by Cosgrove and Shinnie was almost in. Aberdeen then won a free kick 30 yards out. McLean hit the wall with his first effort but his follow up pass then found Gary Mackay-Steven whose feet was too quick for Lustig on the edge of the area and the Dons had another free kick, this time in a much more promising position. It was Stewart who took it, he shaped to go over the wall but in fact put it to the other side of Bain and the keeper could only watch as the ball clipped his bar. A great effort from Greg.

After ten minutes Dembele outpaced O’Connor and raced towards goal but Lewis stood up well at his near post.

The Dons were very unfortunate not to take the lead in the 13th minute when a GMS cross was directed towards his own goal by defender Ajer. Bain could only look on as the ball went inches past his far post. Aberdeen had the first corner of the game and they then enjoyed a good little spell camped inside the Celtic half but were unable to work a clear opening.

In the 17th minute Logan was forced to conceded a corner. Celtic won a second corner which floated out of play.
Aberdeen had made a good start.

On 22 minutes Lewis claimed a free kick and produced a great early ball for GMS to chase but the winger frustratingly failed to find a red shirt as the Aberdeen players steamed forward.

Two minutes later a long Lustig ball found Dembele but O’Connor managed to track his run and made a superb block. A minute later Shinnie had to block a Tierney effort at the expense of a fifth Celtic corner.

After 27 minutes Cosgrove and GMS linked well and won a free kick. A well worked set piece allowed Shinnie to pick the ball up in space but his cross failed to beat the first defender.

On the half hour mark the Dons saw off a sixth corner – up to this point they had defended well but Celtic were by now enjoying more possession.

On 34 minutes Kenny McLean was booked by Craig Thomson. There had not been any incident’s so it must have been for something he said. Four minutes later Rogic caught McLean with a poor tackle but escaped a card.

Aberdeen were continuing to keep their shape really well and close down the space. Celtic were creating nothing of note. The Dons were still having the odd attack but were a little wasteful with the final pass.

HT. Celtic 0 Aberdeen 0

Aberdeen had a great chance at the start of the second half. A Considine cross was knocked on by Cosgrove and although Celtic cleared the initial danger Aberdeen regained possession. Ball played it to McLean who laid into the path of Stewart and he curled a shot inches over.

But it did mater as Aberdeen took the lead on 47 minutes. Kenny McLean drove at the Celtic defence. He had time to look up and picked out Considine who fired a low shot past Scott Bain. It was a great finish from the defender who showed great ambition to stay forward and pick up such a good position.

Aberdeen were playing with a real confidence now.

On 51 minutes a double change for Celtic. Griffiths came on for Dembele and Sinclair replaced Tierney. Within seconds of coming on Griffiths had an opening but his stabbed shot was straight at Lewis and also lacked power.

After 57 minutes Mark Reynolds was the player this time to make a terrific block as Rogic tried to get a shot away inside the area. On the hour mark a Ntcham shot was saved by Lewis but the ball fell into the path of McGregor who looked certainly to score until O’Connor from nowhere managed to make a despairing dive and make a block. Quite outstanding defending from Anthony who was the best player on the park this afternoon.

On 61 minutes a long Logan throw in was flicked on by Cosgrove and the ball almost fell kindly for Considine who was lurking at the back post. Two minutes later Boyata headed a Griffiths corner over. Considine did well to put him off.

65 minutes in, 17 year old Dean Campbell came on for Greg Stewart. McGregor was then booked for tugging McLean back. On 67 minutes Stuart Armstrong replaced Ntcham. GMS might have done better with a cross when there were plenty of red shirts in support but his ball in was too close to Bain.
Celtic were by now pushing really hard but O’Connor was making block after block.

On 72 minutes Adam Rooney came on for Sam Cosgrove. Two minutes later Brown was booked for a foul on Shinnie. With 15 minutes to go Celtic were struggling to get anything going as every Dons player continued to work really hard.

On 78 minutes, after Ball made two good blocks, Scott Brown, who had already been booked, took out Kenny McLean with a late tackle. Referee Thomson decided it was not worth a second yellow – although he booked Ajer a minute later for a similar challenge as Shinnie broke forward. Shinnie then received his 19th yellow card of the season for a lunge on Brown. The Celtic captain was far from happy with tackle.

With five minutes to go Celtic were awarded a soft free kick 25 yards out. Griffiths found the target but the ball was well beaten away by Lewis. A minute later GMS was replaced by Stevie May. Then Lewis was called into action again as he saved from Armstrong. Then a remarkable save from Lewis to keep out a Griffiths header from point blank range after Armstrong had stood a cross to the back post.

There were two minutes of added time, Celtic never really threatened again and Aberdeen saw the game out. After the full time whistle there were a number of altercations and Shay Logan was shown a red card.

An outstanding battling and composed performance from every Aberdeen player. Aberdeen are the second best team in Scotland once again and they proved it this afternoon.

FT. Celtic 0 Aberdeen 1

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