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Celtic v Aberdeen


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Dons defeated but performance gives Red Army some hope

 

By Michael Gannon

 

Published: 29/09/2008

 

From jeers to cheers, life is never dull when it comes to Aberdeen FC. After three performances from football's Room 101, the Dons typically showed at Celtic Park they might not be quite as bad as some of the more despairing supporters feared.

 

This dramatic and undeserved 3-2 defeat at the home of the champions summed up the enigma that is Aberdeen.

 

The Dons produced some wonderful football to come from behind to lead at one of the most feared arenas in Europe, only to proceed to shoot themselves in the foot once again.

 

They even could have snatched a draw with the last kick of the ball when Darren Mackie beat the offside trap and goalkeeper Artur Boruc, only to see his clipped shot squirm inches past the post.

 

It is all very well running Celtic ragged, but the Dons continue to make the kind of mistakes in defence which would result in school boys being ordered to write out a 100 times: “I must stop giving away stupid goals.â€

 

Kamikaze-defending aside, this was a promising performance from the Dons, the challenge now is to repeat it week in, week out in the SPL.

 

When Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink opened the scoring after just 14 minutes, the highly-vocal travelling support would have been forgiven for fearing a return to the bad old days when Aberdeen simply turned up in Glasgow's East End and prayed the bleaching would not be too severe.

 

The opening goal was well crafted, but also badly defended. Mark Kerr, Richard Foster and Lee Mair all had opportunities to boot the ball and or Georgios Samaras into Row Z, but instead dallied and allowed the Greek forward to tee up his team-mate.

 

The Dons refused to buckle, however, and they knuckled down and thoroughly grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck.

 

No doubt several of the Aberdeen squad were smarting after the 4-2 League Cup thumping at Kilmarnock made it three miserable defeats on the spin.

 

None more so that Charlie Mulgrew, dropped on his return meeting with the manager who showed him the door two years ago.

 

Mulgrew must have ben hurting and when he replaced the injured Scott Severin midway through the first half, he looked like a man desperate to prove two managers wrong.

 

Even he must have been surprised just how emphatically he did it.

 

First he latched on to Jared Hodgkiss's delicious back post cross and battered the ball into the net for an equaliser on 57 minutes.

 

Even better was to follow when he stepped up eight minutes later and curled a magnificent free kick from 25 yards inside Boruc's near post to give Aberdeen the lead.

 

The advantage was deserved, but Celtic do not play fair. Manager Gordon Strachan has the enviable position of turning to his dugout and seeing the likes of last season's leading-scorer Scott McDonald and player-of-the-year Aiden McGeady giving him the puppy eyes in the hopes of getting a game.

 

It was these two who changed the destiny of the game, particularly the mercurial McGeady. It was the Glaswegian Republic of Ireland international who danced down the right and sent over a devilish cross on 78 minutes which McDonald gorged himself on at the back post for a leveller.

 

Then he was at it again, deep in stoppage time, when he ripped the heart out of the visitors with a wicked near-post ball Vennegoor of Hesselink scrambled home despite the valiant efforts of Zander Diamond.

 

The fact it was Mulgrew, along with Foster, who got caught in possession for the winner was the sort of cruel irony which sums up the Dons and drives manager Jimmy Calderwood to the brink of despair.

 

Calderwood's anguish was intensified in the final moments when Mackie raced through, but even he would have admitted there was an awful inevitability it was not to be.

 

The Dons succumbed to their fourth defeat on the trot, but unlike previous defeats this time they left the field to a standing ovation from the loyal Red Army.

 

They demanded a response and got it. Now Aberdeen have to maintain it.

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They demanded a response and got it. Now Aberdeen have to maintain it.

 

If we had played the way we did against Rangers and Celtic so far we would easily be in 3rd position, how can the team be so Jekyll and Hyde? Which one will turn up on Saturday? Fuck knows!

 

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The best side lost as Reds go down

Dons show pride and passion as Hoops get rub of the green

 

By Charlie Allan  :wave:

 

Published: 29/09/2008

 

WELL done to the Dons for restoring pride with a performance full of passion, character and attacking football.

 

Celtic boss Gordon Strachan clearly disagrees, but the better team lost.

 

It’s the best display I’ve seen from a Dons side at Celtic Park for a long time, probably since the days when Strachan was showing a bit more class in an Aberdeen shirt as a player.

 

If they could play like they did against the champions every week, they would be ripping the rest of the SPL clubs to bits.  :o

 

The Dons even overcame the loss of injured skipper Scott Severin and an early goal to deliver the sort of display that must have had the hearts of their small, noisy, band of fans bursting with pride.

 

I won’t have been the only one fearing the worst when Celtic took the lead after only 14 minutes.

 

Mark Kerr seemed to have snuffed out the danger posed when Georgios Samaras made a great run forward into the Dons area but then got in tangle with team-mate Richard Foster.

 

The ball broke to Scott Brown and he laid the ball off for Jan VENNEGOOR OF HESSELINK to net with a left foot shot from 10 yards.

 

The Dons almost replied instantly when Zander Diamond’s header was cleared off the Celtic line by Marc Crosas and Lee Miller somehow fired a close range effort over the bar.

 

Severin’s injury looked as if it would be a blow, but his replacement, Charlie Mulgrew, was sensational.

 

The Dons missed a couple of other chances and Jamie Langfield made good saves from Samaras and Nakamura before Mulgrew took centre stage.

 

The Dons’ equaliser is one for the football purists.

 

A series of quick passes down the right ended with Miller knocking the ball to Mackie who then picked out the overlapping Jared Hodgkiss.

 

The young Englishman’s perfectly flighted cross was helped on by Miller, and MULGREW was at the back post to batter a 10-yard volley home.

 

MULGREW followed that with a sensational 30-yard curling free-kick that clipped the inside of Artur Boruc’s left post on the way into the net.

 

Strachan, to his credit, then went 4-3-3 and the Hoops were saved in the latter stages by substitutes Aiden McGeady and Scott McDonald.

 

The equaliser came when McGeady’s excellent cross from the right reached McDONALD at the back post and he nodded the ball home from close range.

 

The Hoops pinched the points when Mulgrew and Foster dithered on the ball out on the left.

 

McGeady collected it and his cross was bundled in at the front post by VENNEGOOR OF HESSELINK, despite Diamond’s gallant efforts to keep it out.

 

The Dons could have made it 3-3 deep in injury time when Sone Aluko’s fine pass sent Mackie clear through the middle, but Boruc came out to narrow the angle and forced the striker to poke his shot from the edge of the area wide of the keeper’s left post.

 

It was a cruel end to a game that Aberdeen deserved more from.

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Just watched the highlights of the match, the play leading up to our first was fantastic, some of the best football i've seen us play in a long time!

 

Just watched them too, what was our top stiker doing with that hook over the bar at the start of the game  :hammer:

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Just watched them too, what was our top stiker doing with that hook over the bar at the start of the game  :hammer:

 

I thought there should of been a pen for a foul on Mackie in that. Mackie's chance at the end was unfortunate, if the ball spun the other way it would of went in i think. When theres the screenshot of the fans when we equalised im in it ;D

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