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Aberdeen vs Celtic. Scottish Premiership.


Aberdeen 3

  • L Ferguson (43rd minute pen, 92nd minute pen)
  • R Hedges (65th minute)

Celtic 3

  • C McGregor (52nd minute)
  • L Griffiths (76th minute)
  • R Christie (78th minute pen)

Aberdeen 3-3 Celtic: Late drama as Neil Lennon's side denied at the death

Report and match highlights as Celtic and Aberdeen play out thriller at Pittodrie; Celtic come from behind twice to lead; Aberdeen seal point with injury-time penalty; Celtic now without a win in last three games; They stay second, while Aberdeen stay fourth

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Highlights of the Scottish Premiership game between Aberdeen and Celtic

Celtic were denied victory at Pittodrie in dramatic circumstances as Lewis Ferguson's injury-time penalty grabbed Aberdeen a share of the spoils in the Scottish Premiership.

Aberdeen worsened a difficult week for Celtic when they took the lead before half-time through Ferguson's first penalty (43) after the midfielder was fouled by Olivier Ntcham.

Neil Lennon's side, who came into the game on the back of defeats to Rangers and AC Milan, responded through Callum McGregor (52), but they were behind again 13 minutes later when Ryan Hedges converted from close range (65).

Lewis Ferguson celebrates scoring Aberdeen's opening goal against Celtic
Image: Lewis Ferguson celebrates scoring Aberdeen's opening goal against Celtic

The champions never gave up and drew level again as substitute Leigh Griffiths picked out the top corner (76) before Ryan Christie completed a quick turnaround two minutes later from the spot after Mohamed Elyounoussi was fouled by Tommie Hoban.

Celtic looked on course for victory but there was a sting in the tail as McGregor brought down Connor McLennan as Ferguson (90+2) scored his second penalty of the game to deny the visitors a much-needed win.

Lennon's side are now six points behind leaders Rangers, who eased past Livingston 2-0, and could find themselves nine points off the pace - albeit with two games in hand - next weekend, as they meet Aberdeen again in the rearranged 2020 Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden Park next Sunday.

Player ratings

Aberdeen: Lewis (6), Hoban (6), Considine (6), Hedges (8), Taylor (7), Hayes (8), Edmondson (6), Ferguson (8), McCrorie (7), McGeouch (6), Watkins (7).

Subs: McLennan (6), Wright (7), Cosgrove (7).

Celtic: Bain (6), Frimpong (6), Duffy (5), Ajer (6), Laxalt (6), Ntcham (7), McGregor (7), Christie (7), Rogic (7), Elyounoussi (6), Ajeti (5).

Subs: Brown (6), Griffiths (7), Turnbull (n/a)

Man of the match: Lewis Ferguson.

How a pulsating contest at Pittodrie unfolded

Celtic's Diego Laxalt and Tommie Hoban in action during a Scottish Premiership match between Aberdeen and Celtic at Pittodrie Stadium
Image: Nothing could separate the two sides at full-time

Celtic were inches from taking the lead in the 17th minute when Ntcham's shot from 30 yards clipped the outside of the post.

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The visitors were dominating possession, but chances were hard to come by as Aberdeen, who lost Dylan McGeouch to injury injury with McLennan replacing him, protected goalkeeper Joe Lewis well.

However, it was hosts who forced their way ahead when referee Willie Collum pointed to the spot after Ntcham bundled Ferguson over in the box. The Dons midfielder got up and sent Scott Bain the wrong way with his spot-kick to put the pressure back on Celtic.

Celtic team news

Celtic boss Neil Lennon was forced into a change in goal due to an injury to number one Vasilis Barkas, with Scott Bain making his first start since August.

Lennon returned to a back four and Tom Rogic, Mohamed Elyounoussi and Christie were back in the side at the expense of skipper Scott Brown, Stephen Welsh and Griffiths who started on the bench.

Aberdeen team news

Former Celt Jonny Hayes and Ryan Edmondson shrugged off injuries to take their place in the Dons side as Ross McCrorie replaced Scott Wright.

Celtic responded in fine style, though, as McGregor combined with Tom Rogic before driving the ball low past Lewis from eight yards.

The momentum was with the champions and, moments later, Rogic tested Lewis with a drive before Aberdeen replaced Marley Watkins and Ryan Edmondson with Scott Wright and Sam Cosgrove, making his first appearance of the season after recovering from a knee injury.

When Bain failed to deal with a drive from Cosgrove, after Celtic defender Shane Duffy's error allowed Wright in down the left, Hedges was on hand to poke the rebound home from close range.

Eilidh Barbour, Kris Boyd and Paul Hartley examine the foul not given by the referee in the build-up to Leigh Griffiths’ goal in Aberdeen’s 3-3 draw against Celtic

Brown and Griffiths then replaced Ntcham and Albian Ajeti as Celtic looked for another response and it was Griffiths who gave it to them, taking a pass from Rogic before curling the ball past Lewis and into the top corner.

There was more drama two minutes later when Hoban caught Mohamed Elyounoussi in the penalty area and Christie confidently scored from the spot to give the visitors the lead for the first time.

However, in added time, after McGregor tripped McLennan and Cosgrove had slammed the ball against the crossbar, Collum pointed to the spot again and Ferguson struck another well-taken penalty to bring the scores level.

What the managers said...

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes says his side deserved at least a point against Celtic after an entertaining 3-3 draw at Pittodrie.

Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes: "I'm just glad we got something out of it, it was no more than we deserved. Celtic dominated the ball but we kept the opportunities to a minimum. But I wanted us to take part in the game more. I'm disappointed with a couple of the goals we've conceded, we need to be more calm in those situations. But I'm delighted with the spirit of the team."

Neil Lennon said that defensive issues cost his side in their 3-3 draw at Aberdeen, and the Celtic manager says he is ignoring the ‘noise’ surrounding the team’s recent results.

Celtic boss Neil Lennon: "I'm disappointed we haven't won it. We showed the character to come back twice and we then lose that late goal. Defensively, we were poor but attacking it was good, particularly in the second half. It's too sloppy defensively though."

Man of the match - Lewis Ferguson

Lewis Ferguson celebrates the second of his penalties
Image: Lewis Ferguson celebrates the second of his penalties

Speaking on Sky Sports, former Celtic and Aberdeen midfielder Paul Hartley: To score with virtually the last kick of the game was great calmness from Ferguson. He's got that in abundance after seeing his first penalty and then the second. He's a class act.

How can Celtic make things click again?

Image: Celtic failed to hold onto their lead at Pittodrie

Sky Sports' Kris Boyd:

"Hard work. There's no getting away from it. Whatever way you look at it, the only way you can turn around results is by working hard on your opponents, and things will happen.

"I know Neil Lennon mentioned a few players, but there were a lot of other ones, and you can include Tom Rogic in this, he was walking about in stages here, and for Celtic right now, they don't need that. They need players that are going to work their socks off from the first minute to the last minute.

Eilidh Barbour, Kris Boyd and Paul Hartley examine the foul not given by the referee in the build-up to Leigh Griffiths’ goal in Aberdeen’s 3-3 draw against Celtic

"There's no magic wand in football. You work harder than the opponents and nine times out of 10 you'll get results.

"When you look at Celtic, and Neil has said it himself, they've got better quality than everybody else in the league. When you've got that and talent works hard, it will win games of football.

"But, as it stands right now, it's not happening and when you add in the mistakes that are happening defensively. When you make mistakes in this league you will be punished, and that's what's happening right now."

What's next?

The two sides meet in the rearranged 2020 William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden Park next Sunday; kick off 2.30pm.

But before that, Celtic are back in Europa League action on Thursday when they travel to Ligue 1 side Lille; kick off 5.55pm.

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