Stuff of Champions

So Aberdeen. Still lacking that je ne sais quoi I see.

Celtic on the other hand were the opposite. They played like champions.

After Thursday’s disappointment we needed to see a response from Celtic. Brendan Rodgers made two changes from Thursday’s lineup.

Out went Callum McGregor and Eboue Kouassi. In came Scott Sinclair and Tom Rogic.

Both replacements carved and created in what was a team effort. There were still mistakes and missed opportunities on the whole, but Celtic worked hard.

Each team created chances and slugged it out in a rare open match in Scottish football, but it was Celtic who drew first blood. A perfect cross from James Forrest was too inviting for anyone to miss and Moussa Dembele headed it home willingly.

The game continued to see both teams test one another. Matters looked to have taken a turn for the worst when Mikael Lustig received a second yellow on 76 minutes.

At that point anything could have happened. And it did.

Celtic took the incentive and made a forward move with just ten men on the park. Dembele pressed upfield with Aberdeen suddenly looking on the backfoot after their attack broke down.

Instead of taking on a few players himself, Dembele slipped it into the path of the onrushing Kieran Tierney. The left back didn’t waste the opportunity as he unleashed an unstoppable shot between the near post and Freddie Woodman.

Celtic had all but sealed the tie with seven minutes of regulation time left on the clock. It looked unlikely that Aberdeen would be able to stop Celtic from inflicting ten straight defeats now.

What they did do is raise the bar on dishing it out. Scott Brown, trying to bring the ball out of his own defensive area, was double teamed by Aberdeen players.

He survived the simultaneous block and challenge only to be halved in two by one of them a split second later. To add insult to injury, the boy who cried wolf, Shay Logan, followed up by deliberately battering the ball off the prone Celtic captain.

That wasn’t the best bit. It was the reaction of the Celtic captain.

With no hesitation he got up, dusted himeself down and postured his survival to the bating hordes of Pittodrie. It was a moment that has since done the rounds on social media so if you haven’t seen it, get on it, it’s priceless.

This was a resolute performance and superb victory. I do question Aberdeen’s credentials though.

In the absence of Rangers (1872 or 2012), they’ve failed to overthrow Celtic. Now it looks like they’ve been overthrown by Glasgow’s newest club as well.

It shouldn’t be ignored that Celtic played a fine 96 minutes. Even with ten men and getting goal number two with one player fewer than Aberdeen at the time.

Lustig will be torn apart mentally at what could have potentially been a game changing moment when he saw red. To their testament, Celtic plugged away like Champions do.

The woodwork was cracked twice and Dorus de Vries only had two saves to make. It was a good performance and battle but in the end Aberdeen showed their true colours when Sam Cosgrove saw red less than ten minutes after he’d entered the field of play on a forgetable debut.

Broony endured the hatchet job with ease. The Dons couldn’t overthrow Ronny’s Rockets so what chance did they have with Brendan’s Bhoys?

Finally, it is worth noting Bobby Madden’s refusal to stop the game when Jozo Simunovic and Kristoffer Ajer clashed heads. The young Celt remained down after the clash, but Madden allowed play to go in Aberdeen’s favour until the move broke down.

I don’t know what the rule book says, but play should have been stopped. Ajer played the rest of the match with a bandage and deserves credit for doing so.

As I said before kick off, everyone is out to stop Celtic. Whatever challenges are in front of us, we’re on our own.

Well done Bhoys. Great result.

Hail! Hail!

Stevie Mac

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