Aberdeen take Celtic scalp in thrilling tie

Aberdeen 4 Celtic 2

Aberdeen 4 Celtic 2

A second-half double from Zander Diamond gave Aberdeen a 4-2 win over champions Celtic in a sensational game at Pittodrie.

Scott Brown equalised for Celtic after 25 minutes to cancel out Gary McDonald’s headed opener for the home side a minute earlier.

Stuart Duff restored Aberdeen’s lead with a clinical finish after 31 minutes before Scott McDonald headed his side back level after the break.

However Diamond’s double, both headers from Charlie Mulgrew deliveries, gave the Dons their first win over Celtic at Pittodrie since 2001.

Celtic boss Gordon Strachan made five changes to the side that defeated Dundee in the Scottish Cup with Georgios Samaras, Gary Caldwell, Andreas Hinkel, Paul Hartley and Barry Robson returning to the starting line-up.

Aberdeen only made one change to the side that defeated Kilmarnock midweek with Stuart Duff coming in for Andrew Considine with new signing Javan Vidal having to be content with a place on the bench.

The visitors were dealt an early blow when Boruc injured his groin in the warm-up and had to be replaced by Mark Brown.

The game started at a frenetic pace with both sides eager to press forward. Aberdeen had an early let-off when Richard Foster was in the right place to clear Scott McDonald’s attempt off the line after eight minutes.

But it was the home side who were feeling aggrieved less than a minute later. Darren Mackie latched on to a misplaced defensive header from Caldwell and crossed for the onrushing Gary McDonald who looked to have been bundled over by Scott Brown but referee Douglas McDonald waved play on.

The Dons continued their good start with Scott Severin’s header blocked by Caldwell before Darren Mackie had a goal disallowed for offside.

However it was Aberdeen who made the breakthrough after 24 minutes when a pin-point cross from Stuart Duff found McDonald and his looping header gave Brown no chance.

But the Dons’ lead lasted less than a minute with Aiden McGeady beating Kerr before crossing for Scott Brown who prodded home a quick-fire equaliser.

Aberdeen got themselves back in front just after the hour mark. With Stephen McManus off the pitch receiving treatment, the Celtic defence only managed to clear a free-kick into the path of Kerr who crossed for Stuart Duff to score his first goal for the Dons with a well-placed first-time shot.

Lee Miller could have increased Aberdeen’s lead just before the break but Caldwell was alert to clear the danger.

Celtic started the second half brightly with Severin having to make a last-ditch challenge to block Scott Brown’s shot within two minutes of the re-start.

Diamond did well to turn an inviting McGeady cross out of play for a fruitless corner as the onslaught from the visitors continued.

The home side benefited from a touch of fortune after 61 minutes when Hinkel raced away from Aluko before putting in a vicious dipping cross that came back off the upright before being lashed over the bar by Hartley.

Gordon Strachan made his first change with less than 25 minutes to go, bringing on Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink for Samaras.

Kerr picked up the first booking of the day for a strong challenge on Hinkel soon after.

Jamie Langfield pulled off a brilliant save to deny Scott McDonald after 72 minutes but the visitors did not have to wait long for an equaliser. Robson found McDonald with a curling cross and the diminutive striker nodded the ball past home from close range.

However, Aberdeen took the lead for a third time when Zander Diamond headed home a beautiful delivery from Charlie Mulgrew after 75 minutes in front of an ecstatic home support.

The Dons defender then got Aberdeen’s fourth three minutes later when he bravely bundled the ball home at the back post from another Mulgrew delivery. The Dons defence held firm until the finish to give Jimmy Calderwood his first home victory over Celtic.

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