Odsonne Edouard’s early goal condemned Aberdeen to a second 1-0 defeat to Celtic in the space of 10 days.
The french striker struck after eight minutes, with the aid of a big deflection, to mark Celtic’s first game under John Kennedy’s temporary charge with a win.
They were once again game opponents but could not find the net, with no goals from open play now in eight games.
A small consolation for the Dons will be Hibernian’s defeat to Motherwell, which means they do not lose any more ground in the race for third. However, they now have seven games to overturn a four-point deficit, with the Edinburgh club possessing a game in hand.
Aberdeen made one change from the 1-0 win over Kilmarnock last weekend, with the injured Fraser Hornby replaced by Jonny Hayes.
They were visitors to Celtic Park a mere 10 days ago, where they were beaten 1-0 thanks to a solitary David Turnbull goal.
Derek McInnes had pledged before the game to try exploit a perceived Celtic weakness from set-pieces and his pre-match prognostication nearly came true in the opening five minutes.
Ash Taylor twice threatened the goal in the space of five minutes, first seeing a header from Niall McGinn’s corner come back off the bar then when the ball was reloaded – back to McGinn – Taylor’s header was tipped over spectacularly by Scott Bain.
Any early lift Aberdeen were given was quickly snuffed out. Ryan Christie fizzed a pass into Edouard and he shot for goal, with the ball deflecting off Tommie Hoban to wrong-foot Joe Lewis and give the hosts the lead.
The game was proving to be more open than McInnes would like. No sooner had Bain gathered Ross McCrorie’s effort at the second attempt, Celtic were on the offensive again with Turnbull coming close.
Patryk Klimala was next to have a sight in goal, meeting a sumptuous cross from Jonjoe Kenny at the back post but unable to turn it past Lewis.
Aberdeen were taking a more positive approach than in games past but had not troubled Bain since Taylor’s early header. Worryingly Edouard was clicking through the gears, twisting and turning his way through the Dons’ defence before Tommie Hoban recovered to clear.
The visitors dropped off in a bid to stem the run of chances but with little pressure then on the ball, Celtic were able to manouevre it with ease into more attacking areas. Diego Laxalt and Kenny enjoyed the run of the flanks while their central midfield trio dominated the middle of the park.
Taylor was proving to be Aberdeen’s likeliest source of a goal and had another looping header cleared off the line at the start of the second half, with Klimala providing the saving intervention.
Last week’s match-winner Hendry was introduced for Dean Campbell to give McInnes’ side greater presence in attack and they certainly did not lack for balls into the box. But as has been a running theme lately, the quality was lacking.
Niall McGinn had a half-chance blocked by Kristoffer Ajer and Callum McGregor shot wide in the closing stages, with Celtic meriting their 1-0 triumph.