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.

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