Celtic returned to winning ways in the Scottish Premier League as they overcame stuffy resistance from Aberdeen at Pittodrie.

Substitute Lassad Nouioui stroked home on 73 minutes after Victor Wanyama had crashed a powerful shot against a post.

And Charlie Mulgrew arrowed a neat finish into the bottom corner four minutes later to make sure Celtic moved back to the top of the table.

Aberdeen were rarely seen in attack as their bid to stifle Celtic failed.

Neil Lennon's team had dropped points in each of their last three league outings, meaning the in-form Dons were just one point behind the reigning champions before kick-off.

But a bumper crowd of 18,083 could not inspire the home side as Celtic did most of the pressing in a match that failed to live up to its top billing.

The Dons, lining up in a 3-4-3 formation made a lively start, with Johnny Hayes hitting the side-netting early before his low strike was gathered by goalkeeper Fraser Forster.

But Celtic soon asserted themselves as Wanyama headed wide from the first of six corners won by the visitors in the first half, with the low winter sun causing problems for the home defence.

Dons teenager Ryan Fraser skipped in from the right flank to have a strike at goal but his effort was straight at Forster.

Celtic should have gone ahead on 27 minutes when Kris Commons delivered a great cross from the right to find Tony Watt at the back post.

The teenage striker, who has just signed a new contract, failed to make proper contact with his head and could only graze the base of the post from six yards.

A largely drab first 45 minutes closed with Mikael Lustig rising high to reach another of Mulgrew's corners but the Swedish defender glanced the ball wide from a promising position.

Mulgrew whipped a long-range free-kick into the arms of Jamie Langfield early in the second half and there were huge, mocking cheers from the home fans when the same player, a former Don, blazed another set-piece over from the edge of the penalty area.

Aberdeen were packing men behind the ball to frustrate Celtic but managed to threaten on 67 minutes when Hayes once again found the side-netting with a low strike after being set up by Niall McGinn on a swift break from the men in red.

However, just as the Dons looked like opening up a little more, the hosts fell behind.

Wanyama bustled forward from midfield to unleash a thunderous strike from 30 yards that cannoned off the post and into the path of Lassad for the Tunisian to roll in his first goal for the club.

Moments later, Celtic's advantage was doubled when a shot from Giorgios Samaras was blocked and fell to Mulgrew, who steered a fine shot into the bottom corner of the net from 15 yards.

With Neil Lennon's team well on top, Efe Ambrose was in an offide position when his header drew a good save from Langfield, therefore Wanyama's follow-up effort was ruled out.

Aberdeen offered little by way of response after going behind and fell to their first home league defeat of the season.

Lineup, Bookings (0) & Substitutions (5)

Aberdeen

  • 01 Langfield
  • 04 Anderson
  • 06 Considine
  • 22 Reynolds
  • 05 Rae (Robertson - 46' )
  • 07 Clark
  • 10 McGinn
  • 11 Hayes (Fallon - 78' )
  • 16 Osbourne
  • 20 Fraser (Vernon - 64' )
  • 21 Magennis

Substitutes

  • 32 Brown
  • 03 Robertson
  • 23 Shaughnessy
  • 25 Masson
  • 09 Vernon
  • 14 Fallon
  • 38 Smith

Celtic

  • 01 Forster
  • 02 Matthews
  • 04 Ambrose
  • 06 Wilson
  • 21 Mulgrew
  • 23 Lustig
  • 15 Commons (Nouioui - 69' )
  • 33 Kayal
  • 67 Wanyama
  • 09 Samaras (McGeouch - 80' )
  • 32 Watt

Substitutes

  • 24 Zaluska
  • 43 Chalmers
  • 20 McCourt
  • 37 Atajic
  • 40 Ibrahim
  • 46 McGeouch
  • 11 Nouioui
Ref: Craig Thomson
Att: 18,000

Match Stats

Shots

6 11

On target

2 3

Corners

2 7

Fouls

12 7

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +3:13 Full time

Full Time The final whistle goes and the game is over.

90:00 +2:43

Shot from deep inside the area by Tony Watt clears the bar.

89:47

Scott Vernon challenges Victor Wanyama unfairly and gives away a free kick. Kelvin Wilson takes the direct free kick.

87:28

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Dylan McGeouch by Chris Clark. Free kick taken by Efe Ambrose.

84:42

Unfair challenge on Rory Fallon by Kelvin Wilson results in a free kick. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Isaac Osbourne from right channel, Chris Clark concedes a free kick for a foul on Beram Kayal. Fraser Forster takes the direct free kick.

80:32

Lassad Nouioui fouled by Rory Fallon, the ref awards a free kick. Charlie Mulgrew crosses the ball in from the free kick. The referee blows for offside against Victor Wanyama. Jamie Langfield takes the indirect free kick.

79:40 Substitution

Substitution Georgios Samaras goes off and Dylan McGeouch comes on.

78:24

Corner taken by Niall McGinn from the left by-line played to the near post, Efe Ambrose manages to make a clearance.

77:28 Substitution

Substitution Rory Fallon replaces Johnny Hayes.

76:02

Assist on the goal came from Georgios Samaras.

76:02 Goal scored

Goal! - Charlie Mulgrew - Aberdeen 0 - 2 Celtic Charlie Mulgrew finds the net with a goal from inside the box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Aberdeen 0-2 Celtic.

72:49

The assist for the goal came from Victor Wanyama.

72:49 Goal scored

Goal! - Lassad Nouioui - Aberdeen 0 - 1 Celtic A goal is scored by Lassad Nouioui from inside the penalty box low into the middle of the goal. Aberdeen 0-1 Celtic.

72:14

Victor Wanyama has an effort at goal from outside the penalty area hitting the post.

68:41

Fraser Forster takes the free kick.

68:41 Substitution

Substitution (Celtic) makes a substitution, with Lassad Nouioui coming on for Kris Commons.

68:41

Scott Vernon challenges Kelvin Wilson unfairly and gives away a free kick.

67:48

Johnny Hayes produces a right-footed shot from deep inside the penalty area which goes wide of the right-hand post.

66:33

Russell Anderson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Victor Wanyama. Kelvin Wilson takes the free kick.

63:35 Substitution

Substitution Ryan Fraser goes off and Scott Vernon comes on.

60:45

Foul by Andrew Considine on Kris Commons, free kick awarded. Charlie Mulgrew fires a strike on goal direct from the free kick.

59:40

Niall McGinn gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Fraser Forster. Fraser Forster takes the free kick.

58:41

Free kick awarded for a foul by Charlie Mulgrew on Johnny Hayes. Free kick crossed by Johnny Hayes, save made by Fraser Forster.

55:52

Beram Kayal challenges Ryan Fraser unfairly and gives away a free kick. Johnny Hayes restarts play with the free kick.

54:08

Isaac Osbourne gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Kris Commons. Shot comes in from Charlie Mulgrew from the free kick, Fraser Forster makes a comfortable save.

50:52

Corner from left by-line taken by Kris Commons.

48:58

Header from deep inside the penalty area by Andrew Considine goes harmlessly over the crossbar.

47:55

Corner taken left-footed by Johnny Hayes to the near post, Efe Ambrose makes a clearance.

46:26

Free kick awarded for a foul by Isaac Osbourne on Charlie Mulgrew. Adam Matthews takes the direct free kick.

45:01

The game restarts for the second half.

45:01 Substitution

Substitution Clark Robertson joins the action as a substitute, replacing Gavin Rae.

45:00 +1:04 Half time

Half Time The match has reached half-time.

44:47

Outswinging corner taken by Charlie Mulgrew, Close range header by Beram Kayal misses to the right of the goal.

36:49

Charlie Mulgrew takes a inswinging corner to the near post, Kris Commons has an effort at goal from outside the area missing to the wide left of the goal.

35:30

Effort on goal by Kris Commons from long range goes over the crossbar.

31:47

Niall McGinn has shot on goal from just outside the area which goes wide of the right-hand upright.

31:23

Mikael Lustig concedes a free kick for a foul on Chris Clark. Free kick taken by Gavin Rae.

30:29

Charlie Mulgrew takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post, Gavin Rae makes a clearance.

23:41

Kris Commons crosses the ball, Header from close range by Tony Watt strikes the post.

22:50

Corner taken by Charlie Mulgrew.

21:08

The assistant referee signals for offside against Niall McGinn. Fraser Forster restarts play with the free kick.

20:38

Unfair challenge on Ryan Fraser by Mikael Lustig results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Andrew Considine.

19:50

Ryan Fraser takes the chance to get an effort at goal. Save made by Fraser Forster.

18:55

Isaac Osbourne challenges Beram Kayal unfairly and gives away a free kick. Mikael Lustig takes the direct free kick.

18:24

Josh Magennis fouled by Charlie Mulgrew, the ref awards a free kick. Isaac Osbourne takes the free kick.

16:45

Outswinging corner taken by Charlie Mulgrew from the right by-line, Russell Anderson makes a clearance.

13:34

Corner taken by Charlie Mulgrew, Victor Wanyama has a headed effort from close range and clears the bar.

9:27

Johnny Hayes gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Kelvin Wilson. Free kick taken by Fraser Forster.

8:14

Georgios Samaras produces a cross.

7:30

Johnny Hayes takes a shot. Fraser Forster makes a save.

5:34

Mikael Lustig concedes a free kick for a foul on Ryan Fraser. The free kick is swung in right-footed by Ryan Fraser, clearance by Efe Ambrose.

1:35

Josh Magennis has an effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the right of the goal.

0:00

The game gets underway.

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