Scottish Premiership Pittodrie, Aberdeen Sunday, February 25, 2018
(Dembele 36, Tierney 83)
CELTIC secured their 10th successive victory over title rivals Aberdeen with an impressive 2-0 win at Pittodrie. The result sees the Hoops move nine points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership with 10 games remaining.
Moussa Dembele opened the scoring in the first half before Kieran Tierney killed the game off late in the second half.
Scott Sinclair and Tom Rogic both started and were the only changes to the team who lost in Russia to Zenit St Petersburg in the knockout stages of the UEFA Europa League on Thursday night, with Eboue Kouassi and Callum McGregor dropping to the bench.
Celtic hold a strong record over the Dons at Pittodrie and wasted no time in attacking their opponents, with Kieran Tierney using his pace to good effect to get beyond Niall McGinn out on the left. He cut the ball back from the byline and won a coroner which Mikael Lustig flashed past the goal with a header at the near post.
The home team came close a minute later from a set-piece when Kenny McLean whipped a great ball in towards the back post but Kari Arnason failed to make contact. Shortly afterwards the Dons passed up another good opportunity which came from a long throw towards the near post where the ball fell kindly to Anthony O’Connor just a yard form goal.
Celtic looked in control throughout the first half, though, as Derek McInnes’ side looked content to avoid conceding an early goal.They were fortunate not to find themselves behind inside 20 minutes when Sinclair gathered the ball in the middle of the park. He broke forward down the left-hand side and slipped the ball to Moussa Dembele in the box.
The Frenchman had a great chance to bury the shot but instead checked back to get the ball on to his left foot and gave the Aberdeen defence time to block his shot.
Having come close Celtic moved up a gear as they went in search of a first-half goal. That almost came when Olivier Ntcham lobbed a great pass over the defence for Scott Brown, but the ball bounced up and the Hoops captain couldn’t keep his half volley down.
The home side still threatened the Hoops with some good chances of their own and nearly snatched a goal midway through the half. McLean hooked a great cross into the Celtic penalty area from the right for Stevie May but, at full stretch, the Dons striker couldn’t connect with the ball.
The breakthrough eventually came 10 minutes from the break when James Forrest got past Andrew Considine and picked out Dembele inside the six-yard. The Frenchman was quick to react as he drifted away from Arnason at the back post to head home.
Aberdeen started the second half playing higher up the pitch which left them more open to being attacked. It didn’t take Celtic long to take advantage of the space and the home side were let off when Forrest’s attempt to pick out Sinclair at the back post was blocked by Shay Logan.
Derek McInnes’ side looked more motivated to attack Celtic, though, and gave the champions a scare when former Celt Gary Mackay-Steven collected the ball inside the box and, rather than having a go himself, tried to pick out May but the pass was too far in front of him.
The home side almost found a way back into the game when Kenny McLean won the ball inside the Celtic penalty area. His shot was blocked and then Niall McGinn saw his effort blocked before O’Connor’s was stopped on the line by Lustig.The Swedish defender was shown a second yellow for a challenge of Mackay-Steven, forcing Brendan Rodgers into making a substitution with Forrest being sacrificed for Jack Hendry.
With Aberdeen a man up, they frantically went in search of an equaliser but it backfired as Celtic exploited the space and put the game to bed with some great counter attacking.An Aberdeen free-kick was thwarted and Dembele carried the ball forward before picking out an overlapping Kieran Tierney. The Hoops full-back controlled the ball and flashed his shot past Woodman at his near post.
Aberdeen substitute Sam Cosgrove then lost his composure and saw a straight red for a high and late on Scott Brown in the middle of the pitch.
ABEREEN: (4-2-3-1) Woodman, Logan (Rooney 84), Considine, O’Conner, McLean, May (Cosgrove 75), Nwakali, McKenna, McGinn, Arnason (Maynard 90), Mackay- Steven.
Not Used: Rogers, Reynolds, Wright, Ball,
CELTIC (3-4-2-1) De Vries; Lustig, Simunovic, Ajer; Forrest (Hendry 78), Ntcham, Brown, Tierney; Rogic (McGregor 73), Sinclair (Edouard 82); Dembele
Not Used: Bain, Miller, Musonda, Kouassi