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Aberdeen beaten 4-1 at Celtic Park

Leigh Griffiths: Opened the scoring for Celtic.
Leigh Griffiths: Opened the scoring for Celtic.

Ten-man Aberdeen were beaten in the league for the first time this season with a 4-1 defeat at Celtic Park.

Leigh Griffiths broke the deadlock after only 13 minutes with a stunning strike for his seventh goal in nine appearances this season.

Aberdeen restored parity just after the half hour mark with Adam Rooney equalising against the run of play but James Forrest netted three minutes before the break to give the hosts the half-time advantage.

Aberdeen's Adam Rooney (blocked) celebrates his equaliser
Aberdeen’s Adam Rooney (blocked) celebrates his equaliser

Scott Sinclair converted a penalty three minutes from time, which had resulted in Mark Reynolds being shown a red card, before Tom Rogic completed the scoring with a finely struck free kick.

Goalkeeper Craig Gordon, who looked unconvincing in the 2-0 defeat by Hapoel Be’er Sheva, was dropped as Celtic made three changes from the side that started in Israel with former Nottingham Forest stopper Dorus de Vries making his debut. Saidy Janko and Callum McGregor also made way for Erik Sviatchenko and Tom Rogic.

Aberdeen made two alterations from their 2-1 win against Partick Thistle with Wes Burns and Ash Taylor brought in for Miles Storey and Peter Pawlett, while captain Ryan Jack missed out through injury.

The Dons lined up in a defensive formation with five at the back but created the game’s first chance when Burns glided past Mikael Lustig before blasting wide when he should have tested debutant de Vries.

Celtic went even closer in the 11th minute when Rogic struck the crossbar with a blistering strike from 25 yards out.

However the home support did not have to wait much longer for the opener with Griffiths nutmegging Kenny McLean before firing the ball into the top corner of the net. The Celtic forward held up a shirt with RIP Kieran and the number 13 on it in in tribute to schoolboy Kieran McDade who had collapsed on the pitch while playing for Dunbeth Football Club.


It was a spectacular strike that will do the in-form forward’s chances of starting for Scotland in Malta next week no harm.

The Dons were toiling to get on the ball and almost fell further behind when the lively Scott Sinclair cut the ball back for James Forrest who failed to find the target.

However, completely against the balance of play, Aberdeen drew level after 33 minutes when, on a rare foray forward, Rooney showed great awareness to fire home when Kolo Toure failed to properly clear a Niall McGinn cross.

Suddenly it was Celtic who were looking jittery with de Vries guilty of a playing a dreadful kick-out straight to McLean with Ivory Coast international Toure making a last-ditch challenge to prevent the Dons midfielder getting a clean shot on goal.

 Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes speaks with the assistant
Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes speaks with the assistant

But Celtic regained the lead three minutes before the break when Rogic played in Forrest who curled the ball beyond Lewis with the outside of his right foot.

It looked like the Hoops were going to net again nine minutes after the restart but Taylor made a superb block to prevent Sinclair increasing the advantage.

Aberdeen were enjoying more of the ball than they did in the first half but Celtic looked the more likely in the final third with Nir Bitton a whisker away from adding a third.

Celtic’s midweek Champions League exertions were beginning to show, although the Dons were struggling to test de Vries with McGinn heading wide before the unmarked Shinnie blazed a shot over.

However the result was put beyond doubt with three minutes remaining when Mark Reynolds was sent off for a foul on Sinclair in the penalty area and the midfielder fired the spot-kick past Lewis to make sure of the points.


And there was still time for Rogic to add another for the hosts with a well-executed free kick from 20 yards out.

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