Scottish Premiership: Celtic hold on for win over Dons
Celtic earned their first victory in five matches as they held off a late Aberdeen surge to defeat the Dons 2-1 at Parkhead in their Scottish Premiership clash on Saturday.
The Hoops, inspired by the inclusion of captain Scott Brown in the starting line-up as he returned from injury almost a month ahead of schedule, made an impressive start with Jason Denayer giving them a seventh-minute lead.
The Glasgow giants added to their advantage seconds into the second period when a Kris Commons strike took a wicked deflection off Shaleum Logan on its way past Jamie Langfield.
Celtic were dominating but a lack of concentration in defence allowed David Goodwillie to pull one back with his first goal for the Dons on the hour mark.
The goal handed Aberdeen the momentum and both Niall McGinn and Willo Flood saw efforts stopped by Craig Gordon as Celtic held on for their 19th consecutive home league win over the Dons to move into fourth spot.
The Hoops, who handed debuts to new signings Aleksandar Tonev and Stefan Scepovic, hadn`t won a match since August 16 but any nerves in the home side were soon settled when Denayer handed them the early lead.
The ball broke to Efe Ambrose from a Commons corner and the Nigerian`s volley smacked off Denayer and then the bar before it crossed the line.
Commons should have put Celtic further in front in the 11th minute when he got on the end of Emilio Izaguirre`s cross but the forward sent his header wide from six yards out.
Scepovic, signed from Spanish side Sporting Gijon, had the ball in the net in the 14th minute after Virgil van Dijk played him in following a surging run but the Serbian`s effort was ruled out for offside.
Aberdeen were the only side to defeat Celtic in the league last season and the Dons soon started to create some chances of their own when Mark Reynolds headed wide from a Nicky Low free-kick before Goodwillie fired well over after Brown`s clearance fell to him at the edge of the box.
The second half was only 23 seconds old before a deflected Commons strike made it 2-0 for Celtic, however.
A chipped pass from Ambrose to Callum McGregor took out four Aberdeen players and the winger picked out Commons in the box who saw his shot take a wicked deflection off Logan on its way into the net.
Peter Pawlett brought out a great save from Celtic `keeper Craig Gordon with a rising strike before Commons clipped the top of the bar with a curling effort at the other end.
Aberdeen had been largely anonymous in attack in the second half but they came to life on the hour mark when Goodwillie pulled one back for the Dons.
Andrew Considine got up well to head Logan`s cross back across goal to the back post where the unmarked Goodwillie was lurking and the former Dundee United striker had the simple task of nodding in from four yards out.
The Hoops immediately brought on-loan Manchester City striker John Guidetti into the fray for his debut but it was the visitors who looked more dangerous going forward and Gordon had to stop a fierce strike from McGinn before beating away an effort from Flood.