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  • Celts edge out Dons to seal five-in-a-row

    Celts edge out Dons to seal five-in-a-row

    By: on 08 May, 2016 14:19

  • SPFL Premiership
    Sunday, May 8, 2016
    Celtic Park

    CELTIC...3
    (Roberts 7, 19, Lustig 49)

    ABERDEEN...2
    (McGinn 58, Considine 64)

    A CLINICAL first-half performance from Celtic saw Ronny Deila’s Bhoys confirm their status as SPFL Premiership champions for a historic fifth consecutive season after they beat Aberdeen 3-2 at Celtic Park.

    Two stunning goals inside the opening 20 minutes from Patrick Roberts set the tone for the afternoon at a sun-drenched Paradise and the party continued early in the second-half after Mikael Lustig made it 3-0.

    The Dons fought back into proceedings, however, and capitalised on some poor Celtic defending and a questionable free-kick to pull two goals back through Niall McGinn and Andrew Considine but the champions did enough to see out the match and claim the win which officially crowned them champions of Scotland once again.

    The Celts made a trio of changes for the game after the 3-1 win over Hearts with Charlie Mulgrew, Stuart Armstrong and Tom Rogic all restored to the starting XI in place of Efe Ambrose, Colin Kazim-Richards and captain Scott Brown, who announced earlier in the week that he would sit the rest of the season out to recuperate from a hamstring problem.

    Paradise was bathed in warm sunshine for the start of the game and the Celts matched that with a scorching opening, which saw them take the lead through a superb solo strike from Patrick Roberts inside 10 minutes.

    After a period of pressure from the Dons the Bhoys broke down the right flank through the winger. The Manchester City loanee cut infield onto his left and set off on a diagonal run towards the box. After shrugging off a string of challenges from the Aberdeen defence the 19-year-old unleashed an unstoppable drive with his left, which swerved past the out-stretched hand of Adam Collin and into the net.

    Derek McInnes’ side came forward in a bid to get back into the game but the Celts held firm and patiently weathered the Dons’ pressure before powering into a two goal advantage, courtesy of Roberts again.

    The winger found himself in space on the right and did well to stay onside as Leigh Griffiths squeezed a through-pass out from under his feet and into Roberts’ path. The playmaker sized up the shot as it rolled towards him and sent a first-time curling finish into the far corner with his left, giving the champions control inside the first 20 minutes.

    Ronny Deila’s side looked dangerous with every attack and went close to adding to their lead on the half-hour mark through Armstrong, but his shot from the left after a one-two with Griffiths was off target.

    Aberdeen’s afternoon then took another turn for the worse before half-time when striker Simon Church was forced out of the action after picking up a knock and was replaced by Mark Reynolds.

    The Hoops were also forced into a switch at half-time as Mulgrew failed to reappear for the second-half, and was replaced by Efe Ambrose.

    The change did little to thwart Celtic’s attacking prowess, however, and they soon had their third goal of the day after a lovely piece of skill on the right from Callum McGregor.

    The midfielder was picked out on the flank by a long ball from defence and he danced past Graeme Shinnie at the corner flag and into the box. The attacker then took the time to look up and pick out Mikael Lustig’s run, allowing the Swede to swerve a shot past Collin first-time with his right to make it 3-0.

    Aberdeen’s response was swift after conceding and it took a strong hand from Gordon to stop Jonny Hayes from pulling one back for the Dons almost instantly after the goal. The visitors were not to be stopped, however, and they eventually got the goal they wanted after capitalising on some slack play from the Celts in midfield on 58 minutes.

    The Hoops spurned possession in the centre of the field allowing McInnes’ side to break up the pitch with the Bhoys defence stretched. Hayes then picked out McGinn unmarked and the Aberdeen striker slid a shot past Gordon to give his team hope.

    That hope then changed into real belief after Andrew Considine reduced the arrears for his team again with a headed goal after McGinn’s whipped-in free-kick

    Celtic responded by switching Lustig with Saidy Janko, who made his first appearance since a 2-1 win over Hamilton in October 2015 but a string of decisions from the referee continued to irk the home support and it was from another debatable set-piece that almost saw Aberdeen draw level, but Ashton Taylor put his header wide at the back post.

    The visitors continued to press for an equaliser but the Celts did just enough to stay tight at the back and seal the three points which confirmed them as champions of Scotland for the fifth consecutive season.

    CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Gordon; Lustig (Janko 73), Sviatchenko, Mulgrew (Ambrose 46), Tierney; McGregor, Bitton; Roberts, Rogic (Johansen 82), Armstrong; Griffiths

    Not used: Bailly, Izaguirre, Christie, Allan

    ABERDEEN (4-5-1) Collin; Logan, Taylor, Considine, Shinnie; McGinn, McLean, Flood (Robson 79), Jack, Hayes; Church (Reynolds 42)

    Not used: Brown, Storie, McKenna, Wright, Nuttall

    Website Man of the Match: Patrick Roberts

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