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  • Champions slip to defeat on Trophy Day

    Champions slip to defeat on Trophy Day

    By: Mark Henderson on 13 May, 2018 14:41

  • Scottish Premiership
    Celtic Park, Glasgow
    Sunday, May 13, 2018

    CELTIC...0

    ABERDEEN...1
    (Considine 47)

    CELTIC were unable to crown off the league trophy celebrations with a victory as they slipped to a 1-0 defeat to Aberdeen, a result which secured the Dons a runners-up finish in the table.

    The seven-in-a-row champions were undone by Andrew Considine’s striker just after the interval and, despite coming close on a number of occasions, they couldn’t find a way past goalkeeper Joe Lewis.  

    It was the Pittodrie side’s first win away over the Hoops in 14 years, but that didn’t dampen the party atmosphere in Paradise as captain Scott Brown lifted the trophy for the seventh successive time in the May sunshine.

    And Brendan Rodgers’ side will now look to add more silverware in next week’s Scottish Cup final, when they will look to clinch an unprecedented double treble.  

    Moussa Dembele returned to lead the line as Brendan Rodgers made six changes to the team that were held by Kilmarnock on Wednesday night.  Mikael Lustig, Kieran Tierney, Dedryck Boyata, Olivier Ntcham and Tom Rogic also came back into the starting XI. Jack Hendry, Jozo Simunovic, Calvin Miller, Stuart Armstrong, Scott Sinclair and Patrick Roberts dropped out.

    Roared on by a bumper crowd in Paradise, the hosts were quickly on the front foot, zipping the ball around with purpose and fashioning several promising positions.

    However, it was the Dons who registered the first effort of note in the 10th minute when Greg Stewart curled a free-kick off the bar following Mikael Lustig’s foul on Gary Mackay-Steven.

    Dembele responded for the champions, fastening onto a pass in the box and showing superb strength to hold off his marker before bringing out a save from Joe Lewis from an acute angle.

    The Pittodrie side, who still had plenty to play on the last day as they sought to seal second spot in league, then came close when Kristoffer Ajer almost turned Mackay-Steven’s cross into his own net.

    Although the Celts continued to dominate possession, as the half wore on, they struggled to plot a path through the sea of red shirts, with the visitors retreating to a deep defensive line and remaining compact when not in possession.

    Meaningful chances were at a premium for the Bhoys. Forrest did fire over from a good position, following a corner, but the offside flag had already been raised in any event. Dembele also looked to have broken clear, but Anthony O’Connor’s last ditch block prevented the striker from testing Lewis.

    Celtic’s frustration grew at the start of the second half as Derek McInnes’ men took the lead within two minutes of the restart. Moments after Stewart had curled over for the Dons, Considine reacted quickest to a loose ball in the box and drilled beyond Scott Bain.

    Brendan Rodgers reacted by making a double change, sending on Scott Sinclair and Leigh Griffiths for Kieran Tierney and Dembele, and Griffiths nearly made an immediate impact but he couldn’t generate enough power in his shot to trouble Lewis after he’d been played in by Kristoffer Ajer.  

    Searching for an equaliser, the Hoops began to crank through the gears. Rogic had a shot charged down by Mark Reynolds and Ntcham forced Lewis into a smart save, with Considine making a last-gasp clearance to prevent Callum McGregor from reaching the rebound.

    Sinclair was next to threaten as Brown sent him scampering clear in the box, but the winger couldn’t get the ball out of his feet and was eventually crowded out. Brown then took matters into his own hands, bursting into the box but his effort was deflected behind for a corner off O’Conner.

    Rogic and Stuart Armstrong, who had also entered the fray from the bench, had shots charged down, before Griffiths had a free-kick pushed away by Lewis.  Armstrong was also denied by Lewis as the pressure intensified on the Aberdeen goal in the closing stages. 

    And Lewis was the hero again for the away side as the clock ticked down, pushing Griffiths header away from Armstrong’s deft cross.

    After the final whistle sounded, Shay Logan was shown a straight red card for clashing with several Celtic players, including Mikael Lustig and Dedryck Boyata.

    But was then time for the main event as Brendan Rodgers praised the players for their oustanding efforts over the campaign and Brown held the league trophy aloft amid jubilant scenes.

    CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Bain; Lustig, Ajer, Boyata, Tierney (Sinclair 52); Brown, Ntcham (Armstrong 68); Rogic, Forrest, McGregor; Dembele (Griffiths 52)
    Not Used: De Vries, Hendry, Simunovic, Roberts

    ABERDEEN (4-2-3-1) Lewis; Logan, O’Connor, Reynolds, Considine; Ball, Shinnie; Stewart (Campbell 65), McLean, Mackay-Steven (May 85); Cosgrove (Rooney 72)
    Not Used: Woodman, Arnason, Wright, Anderson, Campbell

    Website Man of the Match: Scott Brown

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