Aberdeen are edging perilously close to the threat of being dragged into the relegation play-off zone after yet another defeat.
The Reds held their own against Celtic and had chances to take something from the match – yet still suffered another loss.
Defensively resolute and carrying an attack, it was ultimately the misfortune of a deflected goal that cost them getting something from Parkhead.
However the harsh reality is it was another defeat and Aberdeen have won just twice in the last 13 Premiership games.
That has dropped them to a concerning position in the table.
After a 2-1 loss at Celtic, Stephen Glass’ side are now just two points ahead 11th placed Dundee who occupy the relegation play off spot.
Dundee also have a game in hand – and momentum having won 3-0 at the weekend
The Dons fought hard at Parkhead, were disciplined, defended well in spells and carried a threat.
Third straight Premiership loss
However the bottom line is it is another defeat – the third straight Premiership loss.
The Dons need points, not plaudits, and need to start securing victories now.
Any notion of pushing up at the top of the table have long evaporated.
Now European aspirations are rapidly fading into the distance unless Aberdeen revitalise their season soon.
If they don’t they could get dragged right into the mire near the bottom of the table – unthinkable after the investment in the summer.
The pressure is on Aberdeen to deliver wins now – starting with the upcoming Pittodrie double header with Livingston and St Mirren.
A frustrating day for the Dons in Glasgow was also marred by injuries to captain Scott Brown and midfielder Dylan McGeouch who both came off during the second half.
Parkhead frustrations continue
This narrow defeat extended Aberdeen’s miserable return at Parkhead to 30 defeats in the last 32.
Former Celtic skipper Brown returned to Parkhead for the first time since leaving the club to sign for the Dons on a two year deal in the summer.
There was added emotion for Brown as his return coincided with a touching tribute to Lisbon Lion Bertie Auld who recently passed away.
Brown and Celtic captain Callum McGregor both laid wreaths in the centre-circle prior to kick-off.
However from kick-off Brown was 100 per cent focused on bidding to beat his former club.
Brown was pushed up from his recent centre-back role into midfield as the Dons reverted to four at the back.
Brown was influential in midfield and helped break up Celtic’s high tempo.
At times Brown also dropped back in between the two centre backs as an extra level of protection to the rear-guard to break up Celtic possession.
It was another impressive, influential performance by Brown until he was substituted in the 66th minute.
Aberdeen were without suspended midfielder Funso Ojo after the Dons were unable to get his controversial dismissal in the 1-0 loss at Dundee United overturned.
Scotland international midfielder Lewis Ferguson returned having served out a one game suspension at Tannadice.
Centre-back David Bates returned from illness with Jack MacKenzie dropping out through injury.
Dean Campbell dropped to the bench to be replaced by Jonny Hayes.
End of proud 74 year Aberdeen run
The absence of Campbell ended Aberdeen’s proud record of having a Youth Academy graduate in every competitive starting line-up for 74 years, extending 3,483 games.
Celtic made the breakthrough in the 20th minute when McGregor pulled back a pass from the left to Jota who clinically shot beyond Joe Lewis with a right footed strike from 15 yards.
The Dons were denied when impressive attacking play created an opportunity as Ramirez picked out Marley Watkins who shot low at the near post.
Keeper Hart got down to push the shot behind for a corner.
From the subsequent corner Liel Abada, who was badly positioned, rashly stuck out a leg to bring down Bates in the box for a clear penalty.
Ferguson confidently rifled the spot kick beyond Hart in the 33rd minute.
Midfielder Ferguson clearly loves playing against the Hoops.
It was Ferguson’s sixth goal in 12 Premiership appearances against Celtic.
Ferguson has netted in each of his last three appearances against the Hoops.
Since his first appearance against Celtic in April 2018, Ferguson has more Premiership goals against Celtic than any other player in the division.
Striker Ramirez made a superb goal line clearance in the 54th minute when a vicious 22 yard drive by McGregor beat keeper Joe Lewis but the United States striker was well placed on the line to clear.
The ball appeared to hit Ramirez’s throat and he dropped to the ground. After treatment on the pitch the striker was thankfully okay to continue.
Celtic went ahead in the 60th minute when Lewis blocked at close range to block a McCarthy shot at the near post.
Hayes attempted to clear but it cannoned off McGregor who had charged him down and the ball deflected into the goal.
In the 82nd minute Jota, racing onto a McGregor pass, beat Lewis with a curling shot that cracked off the outside of the post.
ABERDEEN (4-3-2-1): Lewis 6; McCrorie 7 , Brown 6 (Samuels 66), Bates 7, Hayes 6, McGeouch 5 (McGeouch 49), Ferguson 6, Gurr 6, Hedges 6, Watkins 6(Jenks 66), Ramirez 6.
Subs not used: Richie, Emmanuel-Thomas, McGinn, Longstaff.
CELTIC (4-3-3): Hart 6; Ralston 6, Carter-Vickers 6, Welsh 6, Juranovic 6, McCarthy 6, McGregor 7, Turnbull 6, Abada 6 (Forrest 61), Jota 7 (Johnston 83), Furuhashi 6.
Subs not used: Bain, Scales, Ajeti, Soro, Montgomery.
Referee: Kevin Clancy
Man-of-the-match: Ross McCrorie (Aberdeen)