SPL: Celtic suffer first league defeat of season

Aberdeen 2 Celtic 0

Aberdeen 2 Celtic 0

Aberdeen were in a Robbie Winters wonderland tonight after inflicting a first league defeat of the season on Celtic while securing a record-equalling ninth consecutive victory at Pittodrie.

Ebbe Skovdahl’s heroes celebrated Christmas in style by matching the Premier League feat of Alex Ferguson’s championship-winning side in 1983-84.

But the unsavoury actions of a section of their fans, who threw snowballs at Celtic players, and Derek Whyte losing his cool threatened to overshadow a thrilling performance for the Dons.

However, those incidents were forgotten after calamitous Celtic goalkeeper Robert Douglas gift-wrapped the home side’s victory with a last-minute howler which allowed substitute Darren Mackie to score.

Celtic were under fire early on - but it was not from the home side as their players tried to avoid being hit by snowballs from the home sections with John Hartson hit on several occasions.

As expected the icy conditions were making it increasingly difficult for both sets of players, but Aberdeen seemed to cope better and almost took the lead in the 11th minute.

Eugene Dadi left Bobo Balde for dead with a clever turn after Jamie McAllister’s pass and he pulled the ball back to Winters, whose shot was blocked by Joos Valgaeren.

The ball then came back to Derek Young on the edge of the box, but this time Johan Mjallby deflected the ball out for a corner.

That seemed to be the wake-up call which Celtic needed, but Stilian Petrov resorted to desperate measures and was deservedly booked for throwing himself to the ground.

But in the 15th minute the visitors almost took the lead when Alan Thompson picked out Henrik Larsson inside the box, but he was unable to get enough contact with the ball and fired wide.

Aberdeen defender Derek Whyte was booked in the 19th minute for a foul on Hartson, but he needed to tread carefully.

Celtic did get stronger as the half wore on and they almost broke the deadlock in the 24th minute.

Hartson found Petrov overlapping and the Bulgarian pulled the ball across the face of goal, but the outstretched boot of Sutton was inches away from turning it over the line.

But moments later a section of the Aberdeen fans again shamed themselves when they again aimed snowballs at Celtic players.

Thompson and Petrov went over to the south stand to take a corner for the visitors, but were bombarded with the missiles and police intervention was needed to restore peace.

But when play started Celtic were fortunate not to go behind on the half-hour after a blunder by Douglas, who could not have blamed the conditions.

Winters hit a weak, right-footed shot from 20 yards out and the keeper seemed to have it covered, but he took his eye off the ball and allowed it to squirm through his grasp.

His team-mates looked on in horror, but to his relief the ball trickled just wide of the upright to save his blushes.

Thompson then saved his side in the 35th minute when Young’s turn left Valgaeren left behind, but just as he was ready to pull the trigger the midfielder slid in to tackle.

Petrov and Thompson were pelted with snowballs again three minutes later in the same corner, but that seemed to fire Celtic up.

And they almost conjured up a goal in the 40th minute when Sutton’s flick found Hartson in space and he spread the ball out to Thompson, who failed to pick out Larsson.

In the dying seconds of the half Sutton and Roberto Bisconti were booked after clashing in the centre circle.

Douglas, however, made amends for his earlier scare just two minutes after the restart to deny Aberdeen the first goal.

Winters headed down Young’s cross into the path of Dadi, but he failed to get enough power on the shot and the keeper saved.

Moments later Larsson replied with a fierce shot into the side-netting, but the visitors looked rattled for the first time in the Premier League this season.

First Lennon carelessly gave the ball away and then Douglas again let his concentration waver as he fumbled Young’s shot and then Dadi fell to the ground under his next challenge.

The drama continued and Hartson spurned a glorious chance in the 53rd minute as he headed Thompson’s free-kick straight at Peter Kjaer from just seven yards.

The Aberdeen goal continued to be under siege and O’Neill replaced Lambert with winger Bobby Petta after 71 minutes.

But moments later Celtic should have notched the equaliser when Sutton flicked on Thompson’s free-kick, but Balde spooned the ball over the bar from close range.

Aberdeen then breathed a sigh of relief with three minutes remaining when Kjaer first saved Larsson’s shot and then McAllister headed Thompson’s follow-up off the line.

The Danish keeper was injured in the incident and Petta tried to take advantage which angered the Aberdeen players. The Dutchman and McAllister were booked in an ugly bust-up.

Whyte was then sent off for his second booking after an off-the-ball incident which was pointed out by the linesman, leaving his side to hold out for the last four minutes of normal time.

Balde headed Petta’s cross over in the dying seconds, but deep into injury-time Douglas again messed up as he failed to clear Valgaeren’s back-pass.

His clearance ricocheted off Mackie and the ball rolled over the goal-line with the substitute making sure.

The referee’s whistle sparked a massive Christmas party in Aberdeen - and at Ibrox - while the Celtic team and fans faced a long drive home through the snow to Glasgow.

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