Scottish Premiership
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Aberdeen 1-2 Celtic: Ajer goal settles scrappy Pittodrie game

By Brian McLauchlinBBC Scotland at Pittodrie

Celtic stretched their winning run to nine games as Kristoffer Ajer's late goal earned a Scottish Premiership victory against a battling Aberdeen.

Neil Lennnon's men moved 13 points clear in first after a seventh league win in a row before Rangers beat Livingston to reduce the deficit to 10.

But the champions were largely subdued for much of the 90 minutes.

Ash Taylor cancelled out Celtic's Callum McGregor's opener, before Ajer settled it late on.

It was Aberdeen's best display at home to Celtic for some time, but they have now lost the last eight home meetings with the Parkhead team.

No reward for battling Aberdeen

Aberdeen ended a drought of five games without a goal in midweek against Hamilton and in the opening period they certainly looked like a team who could pose the champions problems.

Connor McLennan and Niall McGinn looked lively and Curtis Main was proving a handful for the Celtic trio at the back.

However it was the visitors who opened the scoring with their first real attack of the game. Leigh Griffiths got the better of defender Scott McKenna and slid the ball into the path of Odsonne Edouard. The Celtic striker fed the onrushing James Forrest who was denied by goalkeeper Joe Lewis, but McGregor followed up with the rebound for his 11th goal of the season.

But Aberdeen were level when Lewis Ferguson's cross was flicked on by Matty Kennedy into the path of Taylor, who chested the ball down before despatching it beyond the helpless Fraser Forster.

Aberdeen were playing with a confidence that the home fans had rarely seen evidence of this season, and Funso Ojo and McGinn both threatened before the break.

Celtic's record of not dropping points after taking the lead this season was under threat with the windy conditions proving troublesome for both sets of players, but the home side were marginally coping the better.

Before Lennon tweaked his formation, Celtic had a golden opportunity to regain the lead when Edouard set up Jonny Hayes who was clean through on goal before being denied by his former team-mate Lewis.

Aberdeen were always dangerous though, and Mckenna got his head on a cross ball that he would have been better leaving with Main in a much better position to find the target.

And Celtic then did what they do so well with a goal against the run of play. Forrest sent a perfect pass into the path of Ajer who took one touch before firing past Lewis.

Edouard could have sealed the victory with Lewis languishing on the ground, but from just two yards out the striker hit the ball off the goalkeeper and the opportunity was gone.

In the end it was a score that was harsh on Aberdeen who had put so much into the game, but ended up with nothing to show for their efforts.

Celtic celebrate after Kristoffer Ajer's goal

Man of the Match - Niall McGinn

Although it was a Celtic victory it was the Aberdeen players who caught the eye on an afternoon where silky football was definitely not on the agenda.

Ferguson and McLennan gave their all but McGinn tormented the Celtic backline from the first minute to the last and although he ended up in the losing side he can be pleased with his performance overall.

'We did annoy them' - reaction

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes: "The intent from my team was clear today. We did get after them, we did annoy them, we did put them under pressure. At no point did we want to settle for a point in the second half."

Celtic manager Neil Lennon: "That was the hardest game I've had by a considerable way. Conditions were awful and we were playing against a very good side. It's a magnificent three points for us."

Line-ups

Aberdeen

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Lewis
  • 2Logan
  • 14TaylorBooked at 45mins
  • 5McKenna
  • 4Considine
  • 19Ferguson
  • 22OjoSubstituted forCosgroveat 83'minutes
  • 18McLennanBooked at 39mins
  • 10McGinn
  • 23KennedySubstituted forBrysonat 67'minutes
  • 9Main

Substitutes

  • 7Bryson
  • 8Hernández
  • 16Cosgrove
  • 17McGeouch
  • 20Cerny
  • 24Campbell
  • 25Anderson

Celtic

Formation 3-5-2

  • 67Forster
  • 6BittonBooked at 86mins
  • 2Jullien
  • 35Ajer
  • 49Forrest
  • 42McGregor
  • 8Brown
  • 21NtchamSubstituted forRogicat 79'minutes
  • 3TaylorSubstituted forHayesat 25'minutes
  • 9GriffithsBooked at 45minsSubstituted forChristieat 58'minutes
  • 22Edouard

Substitutes

  • 10Bayo
  • 15Hayes
  • 17Christie
  • 18Rogic
  • 27Elyounoussi
  • 29Bain
  • 30Frimpong
Referee:
Andrew Dallas
Attendance:
14,135

Match Stats

Home TeamAberdeenAway TeamCeltic
Possession
Home45%
Away55%
Shots
Home9
Away7
Shots on Target
Home3
Away5
Corners
Home5
Away3
Fouls
Home10
Away14

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Aberdeen 1, Celtic 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Aberdeen 1, Celtic 2.

  3. Post update

    Offside, Aberdeen. Sam Cosgrove tries a through ball, but Andrew Considine is caught offside.

  4. Post update

    Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Andrew Considine.

  5. Post update

    Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Joe Lewis.

  6. Post update

    Attempt saved. Odsonne Edouard (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

  7. Booking

    Nir Bitton (Celtic) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Nir Bitton (Celtic).

  9. Post update

    Sam Cosgrove (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, Aberdeen. Sam Cosgrove replaces Funso Ojo because of an injury.

  11. Goal!

    Goal! Aberdeen 1, Celtic 2. Kristoffer Ajer (Celtic) right footed shot from the right side of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by James Forrest.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Odsonne Edouard (Celtic).

  13. Post update

    Lewis Ferguson (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  14. Substitution

    Substitution, Celtic. Tomas Rogic replaces Olivier Ntcham.

  15. Post update

    Scott Brown (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Craig Bryson (Aberdeen).

  17. Post update

    Attempt missed. Scott McKenna (Aberdeen) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Andrew Considine with a headed pass.

  18. Post update

    Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Ryan Christie.

  19. Post update

    Hand ball by Olivier Ntcham (Celtic).

  20. Post update

    Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Joe Lewis.

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic27241279166373
2Rangers26203361164563
3Aberdeen2711883431341
4Motherwell26132113534141
5Livingston27107103835337
6Hibernian279993942-336
7Kilmarnock2795132835-732
8St Johnstone2671092544-1931
9Ross County2768132654-2826
10St Mirren2657142135-1422
11Hamilton2748152850-2220
12Hearts27310142749-2219
View full Scottish Premiership table

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