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  • Unbeaten Celts reach 100 points with Pittodrie triumph

    Unbeaten Celts reach 100 points with Pittodrie triumph

    By: Jo Hendry on 12 May, 2017 22:08

  • SPFL Premiership
    Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
    Friday, May 12, 2017

    (Hayes 12)

    (Boyata 3, Armstrong 8, Griffiths 11)

    CELTIC reached a century of points in the Scottish Premiership and extended their unbeaten run in domestic football since the start of the season to 44 games with an emphatic 3-1 win over Aberdeen tonight at Pittodrie.

    The Friday night encounter was thrilling from the first whistle as Celtic launched their first wave of attacks inside two minutes, and Dedryck Boyata struck at the first time of asking with a clinical header from close-range to give the visitors an early advantage.

    Stuart Armstrong wasted no time in making it 2-0, before Leigh Griffiths smashed home from distance to make it 3-0 inside 11 minutes. Jonny Hayes replied instantly for the hosts but they were unable to claw back the two-goal deficit as the Hoops saw the game out to maintain their incredible run of form.

    It was always destined to be an intense affair and Scott Sinclair was restored to the starting XI in one of three changes to the side which swept aside St Johnstone 4-1 on Saturday.

    Mikael Lustig and Callum McGregor also came back into the line-up, with teenagers Anthony Ralston and Mikey Johnston dropping out, along with Nir Bitton.

    It was a frenzied start to proceedings as Celtic came flying out of the traps with Patrick Roberts almost opening the scoring inside two minutes. The Englishman weaved his way into the 18-yard box in the Hoops’ first foray forward, but the winger’s shot flashed wide of the near post.

    From the resulting corner, however, the Bhoys broke the deadlock.  Griffiths’ cross was lofted in from the right and Boyata headed home from close-range for his third goal in three games, to give Celtic a 1-0 advantage after just three minutes.

    The Hoops doubled their lead five minutes later as Armstrong finished off a rebound following a low and powerful drive from McGregor. The midfielder hit the ball with precision from inside the 6-yard box for his 15th goal of the season.

    The champions were relentless and their intentions were clear as they struck for a third time, incredibly, before 11 minutes had elapsed. Griffiths pulled the trigger from distance, beating Dons keeper Joe Lewis with a left-footed strike.

    The opening stages of the match were frenetic and Aberdeen’s Jonny Hayes hit an impressive strike from 20-yards to make it 3-1, just 60 seconds after Griffiths had hit the target.

    As the first-half progressed, the game settled down and both teams began to find their rhythm. Rogic, who had scored against the Dons three times already this season, came close just before the 20-minute mark with a wonderful strike which was blocked by Lewis.

    However, Celtic’s defence was tested on a couple of occasions in the first half, and Craig Gordon was called to action in 32nd minute, the shot-stopper producing a fantastic double save to deny Kenny McLean and Niall McGinn.

    As the opening 45 minutes drew to a close, there were chances at both ends of the park. For Celtic Roberts and Sinclair both threatened, while Boyata was a constant menace in the air, as the Belgian flashed another header wide of the target just before half-time.

    The second-half got underway with Celtic in charge of the contest, but it was the Dons who had the first spell of pressure. Andrew Considine had a shot blocked by Simunovic just after the restart, before claims for a penalty to the home side were waved away by referee Steven McLean.

    Stand-in captain Lustig attempted to carve out the first Hoops attack of the second-half with a searching ball forward from the halfway line, but there was too much pace on the pass for Sinclair to take advantage.

    On 64 minutes, Roberts went on an impressive run from deep inside the Celtic half and took the ball to the byline before being dispossessed by Ash Taylor. Shortly after, McLean had a great opportunity to make it 3-2 but the attacker blasted his shot high into the stand behind Gordon.

    In the closing stages, the match became a hard-fought battle in the midfield, with neither team able to create any clear-cut goalscoring opportunities. Kieran Tierney tried to tee-up Roberts on the 74th minute but his cross was too heavy, while Sinclair unleashed a shot from just outside the box a few minutes later, but he couldn’t keep it on target.

    Aberdeen, to their credit, kept up the pressure as McGinn unleashed a hopeful volley narrowly over before Celtic substitute, James Forrest, forced Lewis into a couple of late final saves as Brendan Rodgers’ side marched on.

    CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Gordon; Lustig (Sviatchenko 77), Simunovic, Boyata, Tierney; McGregor, Armstrong; Roberts, Rogic (Bitton 56), Sinclair; Griffiths (Forrest 71)
    Not Used: De Vries, Toure, Gamboa, Kouassi

    ABERDEEN (4-3-3) Lewis; Logan, Taylor, Reynolds (Wright 89), Considine; McLean, O’Connor, Shinnie; Hayes,  Stockley (Rooney 63), McGinn (Campbell 90+2)
    Not Used: Alexander, Rooney, Storey, Wright, Ross, Ross, Campbell

    Website Man of the Match: Dedryck Boyata


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