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  • Bhoys celebrate title with battling 1-0 win over Dons

    Bhoys celebrate title with battling 1-0 win over Dons

    By: Martin Dalziel on 10 May, 2015 16:23

  • SPFL Premiership

    Pittodrie, Aberdeen

    Sunday, May 10, 2015



    (Brown 49)

    CELTIC celebrated their fourth title success in a row with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Aberdeen at Pittodrie.

    The Bhoys were forced to defend for large parts of the game as the Dons sought to underline their credentials as genuine title challengers but a goal from Scott Brown just four minutes into the second half sealed the three points for Ronny Deila’s champions and gave the travelling support some reasons to cheer after their long trip north.

    The Hoops made two changes to the team which thrashed Dundee 5-0 last Friday by giving Darnell Fisher his first competitive start of the season at right back and switching Gary Mackay-Steven with Stuart Armstrong on the left wing.

    The Celtic support whipped up a party atmosphere as the champions were welcomed onto the pitch with a guard of honour from the home side but the pleasantries were dispensed with immediately as the two teams who challenged for the title all season got the game underway.

    Celtic went forward straight from the centre but Aberdeen quickly won possession and played the ball down the Hoops’ right flank, testing Fisher early on. Barry Robson managed to find space to fire off the first shot of the game inside two minutes but Craig Gordon had the dig covered all the way.

    Aberdeen had most of the ball for the opening 15 minutes but Celtic looked dangerous on the break. Leigh Griffiths got in behind the Dons defence on a number of occasions but he was flagged off each time.

    Robson then let fly from distance again as the Pittodrie side continued to push forward but Gordon watched the effort go wide. The Hoops defence was then called into action again after another threatening move brought the Dons forward on the right but Fisher was at the back post to nod McLean’s cross clear.

    Former Hoops midfielder Robson then got yet another chance on goal with a shot straight from a free-kick 20 yards out but Gordon saved again.

    Celtic’s first real threatening move of the game came on 23 minutes down the right when Kris Commons intercepted a pass in midfield and sped off down the flank but his cross in to the middle was sent clear by Ash Taylor.

    The game settled down on the half hour mark as Aberdeen’s initial enthusiasm subsided with good play from the Bhoys in defence.

    Izaguirre played Johansen through on 37 minutes as the Bhoys finally beat the offside trap but the Norwegian’s chipped shot was palmed over by Scott Brown in goal for a corner. The set-piece caused panic in the Dons area but it wasn’t enough to create a goal-scoring chance for the champions.

    Fisher then fizzed a wicked shot over the bar after great set-up play by Griffiths on the edge of the box as the Hoops finally began to click into gear but it wasn’t enough to test Brown before half time.

    The game burst back into life again after the restart with Niall McGinn firing a shot at Gordon after a slip from Jason Denayer before Johansen chased down an Aberdeen back pass but he blocked Brown’s clearance with his arm and a free kick was awarded.

    The deadlock was then broken by Celtic in emphatic fashion on 49 minutes as they came forward with a brilliant counter attacking move.

    Armstrong picked the ball up on the left wing and drove into the box where he duped Shay Logan with a drop of the shoulder and played a perfect pass into the six yard box for the Celtic skipper to slide the ball beyond his namesake and give the champions the lead.

    The strike sparked wild scenes of celebration in the away end but the home fans were incensed.

    Celtic took the chance to freshen the side up not long after the opener when Adam Matthews replaced Fisher with roughly half an hour left. Aberdeen also switched Adam Rooney with David Goodwillie as they sought a reply.

    It was Celtic who should have doubled their lead moments after, however, when a quick ball over the top found Griffiths in space but his right-footed shot brought out a good block from Brown before he got back to his feet to deny Commons as well.

    The Hoops were in the ascendency and Aberdeen’s attempts to push forward left them open at the back. Johansen looked to exploit that when he broke forward from midfield but he was barged off the ball by Robson, who was cautioned by the referee.

    Jonny Hayes then received a yellow card for a late challenge on Jason Denayer deep in Celtic territory as the frustrations of the home team threatened to boil over.

    The Dons were still in control of most of the ball and they continued to put pressure on the Hoops backline. Izaguirre did well to clear a cross at the back post on 65 minutes to give Aberdeen a corner, which Nir Bitton headed clear only for McGinn to blast over.

    The home side were still open on the counter attack, though, and Johansen almost caught them out at the back again but he was crashed into by Considine as Celtic looked to attack, with the Aberdeen defender booked for the tackle.

    The threat from the Pittodrie side continued as the clock counted down and McGinn wasted a good chance to test Gordon when he cut inside from the left and shot at goal but his effort curled well wide.

    Armstrong and Brown then did well to keep Celtic in front when they made consecutive vital clearances as Aberdeen turned the screw.

    With 10 minutes to go Ronny Deila made a double change by bringing on Efe Ambrose and James Forrest for Armstrong and Commons but Aberdeen continued to push forward.

    Five minutes of injury time gave the home team even further impetus to push for a goal but some fine defensive play from Celtic in the closing minutes kept Derek McInnes’ side at bay and gave the Hoops the win.

    CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Gordon; Fisher (Matthews 57), Denayer, van Dijk, Izaguirre; Brown, Bitton; Commons (Forrest 81), Johansen, Armstrong (Ambrose 81); Griffiths

    Not used: Zaluska, Scepovic, Mackay-Steven, Rogic.

    ABERDEEN (4-5-1) Brown; Logan, Considine, Taylor, Reynolds; McLean, McGinn, Hayes, Robson (Pawlett 69), Jack (Shankland 87); Rooney (Goodwillie 57)

    Not used: Langfield, Flood, Smith, Daniels

    Website man of the match: Scott Brown

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