Ronny Deila’s future at Celtic in doubt as Aberdeen blow title race open

Aberdeen 2 Celtic 1: Aberdeen dramatically cut Celtic’s lead at the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership to three points with a 2-1 win over the Hoops, piling further pressure on Parkhead boss Ronny Deila.

The visitors had looked in control of the match until the 31st minute when Dons wide-man Jonny Hayes, the Dubliner playing with a bandage on his hand after being bitten by a dog, scored with a thunderous drive from 25 yards.

Hopes of a domestic treble for the Glasgow club had ended with a League Cup semi-final defeat to Ross County at Hampden Park on Sunday but there was to be no redemption for the Norwegian in the league.

The early stages were understandably frantic but Celtic appeared to have it all in hand.

Celtic midfielder Nir Bitton’s 35-yard free-kick required Dons goalkeeper Scott Brown to save at the second time of asking in the fifth minute with his Hoops’ namesake blasting over his bar 10 minutes later.

However, just over the half-hour mark the complexion changed when Hayes took possession of a loose ball contested by Adam Rooney and Bitton and hammered a drive high past the flailing Celtic keeper Craig Gordon at his near post.

The Parkhead men were stunned but fought back and Brown parried another effort from Bitton to safety.

However, the Red Army were joyous again in the 38th minute when a Hayes corner was flicked on by midfielder Kenny McLean, with Church getting the final touch before it went in.

Aberdeen came out after the break fired up with confidence and could have added to their lead as the Hoops struggled unsuccessfully to get back in the game, with Leigh Griffiths’ injury-time strike a mere consolation Celtic have a massive goal difference advantage over the Dons effectively equivalent to another point but many Hoops fans had lost confidence in Deila long before the trip to the Granite City and he has a job on his hands restoring their faith after another big game loss.

“I accept it’s a bad situation but the situation is also that we’re top of the league with three points,” said Deila.

ABERDEEN:

Brown, Logan, Taylor, Reynolds, Shinnie, Hayes (Smith 86), Storie, McLean, McGinn (Considine 72), Church (Pawlett 76), Rooney.

Subs Not Used:

Robson, Collin, McKenna, Ross.

CELTIC:

Gordon, Lustig (Allan 78), Sviatchenko, Boyata, Tierney, Brown, Bitton, Mackay-Steven, McGregor (Forrest 68), Armstrong (Kazim-Richards 46), Griffiths.

Subs Not Used:

Izaguirre, Ambrose, Cole, Bailly.

Ref:

Steven McLean (Scotland).


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