Aberdeen FC Women pushed Celtic all the way on their SWPL1 debut at Balmoral Stadium.
The Dons were on the defensive for much of the game against their professional opponents but it took until injury time for the Hoops to make the points secure with a 4-2 win in front of a healthy turnout of 480.
The opening game of the SWPL1 season was always going to be a challenging start for the Dons against last season’s runners-up and the SWPL2 champions were under relentless pressure from the Glasgow side from the first while.
Aberdeen goalkeeper Gail Gilmour was the called into action twice in the opening exchanges, saving a hooked effort from Hoops striker Charlie Wellings before denying Tegan Bowie when she was clean through on goal.
But Gilmour was powerless to prevent her side from going behind in the 15th minute as Wellings beat the offside trap to race onto Cheyenne Shorts’ through ball before firing low past the Dons goalkeeper to give Celtic a deserved lead.
It had been one-way traffic before Celtic’s opener but their lead lasted just eight minutes as the Dons restored parity with their first foray forward.
Left back Jenna Penman was the creator as she drove to the line before crossing the ball into the box where Hoops captain Kelly Clark headed the ball into her own net.
Celtic instantly restored their advantage after a combination of Loren Campbell and the post denied Olivia Chance but the ball was cleared as far as Izzy Atkinson who crossed for Chloe Craig to sidefoot home from close range.
The visitors continued to apply pressure on the Dons defence as they chased a third goal before the break but Aberdeen held out.
There was no let-up after the break with Gilmour again called into action to save a Wellings shot from the edge of the box.
But the early chance was only time the Aberdeen goalkeeper was tested in the opening 20 minutes of the second half as the Dons, despite being under periods of pressure, denied their opponents a clear sight of goal.
Celtic captain Clark came close to making amends for her own goal with a near post effort which deflected up and off the crossbar in the 71st minute.
Aberdeen, like the first half, had to weather the storm for long periods but they came close to an equaliser in the 78th minute when Eva Thomson fired just wide of Celtic goalkeeper Rachael Johnstone’s right post.
Form the resulting goal kick the Hoops swept upfield and Wellings was denied her second of the game when her powerful drive came back off the post.
But the Hoops striker was not to be denied and she rounded off another fine passing move when she fired substitute Clarissa Larisey’s cutback past Gilmour to make it 3-1.
The Dons set-up a grandstand finish when they pulled a goal back in the 87th minute as a quick free kick released Francesca Ogilvie down the left and she crossed for Eilidh Shore who scored with a looping header.
Celtic put the game beyond the home side in injury time as Craig scored from the spot after goalkeeper Gilmour had fouled Chance.