Scottish Premiership
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Aberdeen 3-3 Celtic: Scottish Premiership rivals share six goals in thriller

By Andy CampbellBBC Sport Scotland

Lewis Ferguson's penalty earned Aberdeen a 3-3 draw with Celtic as Neil Lennon's side slipped six points behind Scottish Premiership leaders Rangers.

Ferguson won and scored the opener from the spot but Callum McGregor restored parity with a fine solo effort.

Ryan Hedges bundled in Aberdeen's second but Leigh Griffiths rifled home to make it 2-2.

Ryan Christie's penalty put Celtic ahead for the first time but Ferguson levelled in an enthralling finale.

The two sides meet again in next Sunday's rearranged Scottish Cup semi-final from the 2019-20 campaign.

Celtic have a game in hand over Rangers, who beat Livingston later on Sunday, while Aberdeen - who beat Hamilton in midweek - are a point behind third-placed Hibernian.

Aberdeen and Celtic players observe a minute's silence
Former Aberdeen manager Ebbe Skovdahl, who died during the week, was remembered before kick-off

In wet and windy conditions that did not lend themselves to flowing football, Aberdeen's players claimed unsuccessfully for an early penalty after Ross McCrorie's header connected with Diego Laxalt's shoulder.

Olivier Ntcham flashed a long-range effort just past Aberdeen goalkeeper Joe Lewis' left-hand post before the hosts' Dylan McGeouch picked up a knock and was replaced by Connor McLennan.

Celtic were dominant in possession for most of the first half but were unable to convert that into chances, and when Ferguson was bundled over after getting the wrong side of Ntcham in the box, the hosts were given the chance to take a lead into half-time.

Scott Bain had replaced Vasilis Barkas in goal for Celtic and the Scotland man went right as Ferguson drove left to register Aberdeen's 16th successful penalty in a row.

The home team will have expected a response from the champions and it came early in the second period as McGregor, the Celtic captain with Scott Brown on the bench, took matters into his own hands.

The midfielder started the move from deep, slipped the ball to Tom Rogic, received the return pass and stepped away from his defender before finishing with a low drive.

The Dons lost Marley Watkins and Ryan Edmondson to knocks while Scott Wright and Sam Cosgrove came on to give the hosts new impetus in attack.

It proved vital as Cosgrove turned in the box to shoot after Scott Wright robbed Shane Duffy, with Hedges on hand for the rebound after Bain had blocked.

Brown and Griffiths took over from Ntcham and Albian Ajeti and the Scotland striker received Rogic's pass inside the box to fire in Celtic's second equaliser, his rising shot flying past the helpless Lewis.

Celtic could smell victory and Mohamed Elyounoussi got to Kristoffer Ajer's cross just before Tommie Hoban and was brought down, giving Christie the chance to stroke the ball in from 12 yards.

But the drama was not over as Hedges squared for McLennan, who was tripped by McGregor, and although Cosgrove fired the loose ball against the bar, referee Willie Collum brought play back for the foul.

Ferguson stepped up again and scored his third goal of the week to give Aberdeen a point.

Man of the match - Ryan Hedges

Ryan Hedges scores for Aberdeen against Celtic
Hedges was energetic throughout and was rewarded for following in on goal for Aberdeen's second

What did we learn?

Substitutions proved key at Pittodrie with the return of Cosgrove - making his first appearance of the season after a knee injury - proving timely for Aberdeen's second goal and in preparation for next week's semi-final.

Griffiths again staked his claim to start with his second goal as a substitute this season. In Odsonne Edouard's absence, that is a huge boost for Lennon.

Celtic had switched from three at the back to four during their midweek defeat by AC Milan and continued with the latter at Pittodrie.

But the defence continually struggled to cope with Aberdeen when Derek McInnes' side got into the final third, as the loss of two penalties demonstrated. Lennon's side have now conceded eight goals in three games, having lost to Rangers last weekend.

What did they say?

Penalty calls all right, says Dons boss

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes: "I'm just glad we got something out of it because it was no more than we deserved. We said at half-time we know Celtic won't lie down. I'm disappointed with a couple of the goals.

"The penalty decisions, the referee got them all right. Big decisions he got right. The players never gave it up and they deserve wholeheartedly their point."

Celtic manager Neil Lennon: "I'm disappointed we haven't won it. Defensively it's poor from our point of view. We can't accept the goals that we're giving away at the minute. It's too sloppy.

"I'll need to see the penalties again. I thought the referee had a very poor game - decision-making, being influenced by his assistants and some of the decisions were baffling. That's not an excuse as to why we dropped points but it didn't add to what was a cracking game of football. I thought he was poor for a referee of his level."

Referee decisions 'baffling' - Lennon

What's next?

Celtic visit Lille in their second Europa League group match on Thursday before meeting Aberdeen again at Hampden next weekend.

Player of the match

WrightScott Wright

with an average of 8.16

Aberdeen

  1. Squad number25Player nameWright
    Average rating

    8.16

  2. Squad number19Player nameFerguson
    Average rating

    7.88

  3. Squad number11Player nameHedges
    Average rating

    7.73

  4. Squad number17Player nameHayes
    Average rating

    7.59

  5. Squad number40Player nameMcCrorie
    Average rating

    7.33

  6. Squad number4Player nameConsidine
    Average rating

    7.21

  7. Squad number50Player nameWatkins
    Average rating

    7.09

  8. Squad number16Player nameCosgrove
    Average rating

    7.02

  9. Squad number18Player nameMcLennan
    Average rating

    6.86

  10. Squad number1Player nameLewis
    Average rating

    6.78

  11. Squad number3Player nameHoban
    Average rating

    6.74

  12. Squad number32Player nameEdmondson
    Average rating

    6.64

  13. Squad number14Player nameTaylor
    Average rating

    6.57

  14. Squad number15Player nameMcGeouch
    Average rating

    6.08

Celtic

  1. Squad number9Player nameGriffiths
    Average rating

    5.03

  2. Squad number17Player nameChristie
    Average rating

    4.17

  3. Squad number18Player nameRogic
    Average rating

    4.11

  4. Squad number42Player nameMcGregor
    Average rating

    4.08

  5. Squad number93Player nameLaxalt
    Average rating

    4.03

  6. Squad number29Player nameBain
    Average rating

    3.81

  7. Squad number30Player nameFrimpong
    Average rating

    3.78

  8. Squad number35Player nameAjer
    Average rating

    3.56

  9. Squad number21Player nameNtcham
    Average rating

    3.50

  10. Squad number27Player nameElyounoussi
    Average rating

    3.42

  11. Squad number14Player nameTurnbull
    Average rating

    3.31

  12. Squad number8Player nameBrown
    Average rating

    3.25

  13. Squad number4Player nameDuffy
    Average rating

    2.95

  14. Squad number10Player nameAjeti
    Average rating

    2.91

Line-ups

Aberdeen

  • 1Lewis
  • 3Hoban
  • 14Taylor
  • 4Considine
  • 15McGeouchSubstituted forMcLennanat 26'minutes
  • 40McCrorieBooked at 51mins
  • 19FergusonBooked at 13mins
  • 50WatkinsSubstituted forWrightat 56'minutes
  • 17Hayes
  • 11Hedges
  • 32EdmondsonSubstituted forCosgroveat 57'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Logan
  • 5Leigh
  • 8Ojo
  • 10McGinn
  • 16Cosgrove
  • 18McLennan
  • 25Wright
  • 33Kennedy
  • 43Woods

Celtic

  • 29Bain
  • 30Frimpong
  • 4Duffy
  • 35Ajer
  • 93Laxalt
  • 42McGregorBooked at 9mins
  • 21NtchamSubstituted forBrownat 70'minutes
  • 17Christie
  • 18RogicSubstituted forTurnbullat 86'minutes
  • 27Elyounoussi
  • 10AjetiSubstituted forGriffithsat 70'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Taylor
  • 8Brown
  • 9Griffiths
  • 11Klimala
  • 12Soro
  • 14Turnbull
  • 56Ralston
  • 57Welsh
  • 65Hazard
Referee:
William Collum

Match Stats

Home TeamAberdeenAway TeamCeltic
Possession
Home38%
Away62%
Shots
Home13
Away14
Shots on Target
Home5
Away7
Corners
Home3
Away5
Fouls
Home12
Away18

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Aberdeen 3, Celtic 3.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Aberdeen 3, Celtic 3.

  3. Post update

    Attempt saved. Ryan Hedges (Aberdeen) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

  4. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Lewis Ferguson (Aberdeen) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Scott Wright.

  5. Post update

    Goal! Aberdeen 3, Celtic 3. Lewis Ferguson (Aberdeen) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner.

  6. Post update

    Penalty conceded by Callum McGregor (Celtic) after a foul in the penalty area.

  7. Post update

    Penalty Aberdeen. Lewis Ferguson draws a foul in the penalty area.

  8. Post update

    Attempt missed. Sam Cosgrove (Aberdeen) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Ross McCrorie.

  9. Substitution

    Substitution, Celtic. David Turnbull replaces Tomas Rogic.

  10. Post update

    Attempt missed. Lewis Ferguson (Aberdeen) right footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Callum McGregor (Celtic).

  12. Post update

    Ryan Hedges (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  13. Post update

    Ryan Christie (Celtic) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Andrew Considine (Aberdeen).

  15. Post update

    Foul by Callum McGregor (Celtic).

  16. Post update

    Ryan Hedges (Aberdeen) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Shane Duffy (Celtic).

  18. Post update

    Scott Wright (Aberdeen) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  19. Post update

    Goal! Aberdeen 2, Celtic 3. Ryan Christie (Celtic) converts the penalty with a left footed shot to the bottom right corner.

  20. Post update

    Penalty Celtic. Mohamed Elyounoussi draws a foul in the penalty area.

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As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Rangers1210202832532
2Celtic1182128101826
3Hibernian127321710724
4Aberdeen117221711623
5Kilmarnock114251513214
6Dundee Utd12345816-813
7Ross County12336720-1312
8Motherwell103251113-211
9Livingston123271320-711
10St Johnstone12327916-711
11St Mirren10217615-97
12Hamilton112181325-127
View full Scottish Premiership table

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