Aberdeen fought valiantly against Celtic and got a point for their efforts, a dramatic clash ending 3-3 at Pittodrie.
Aberdeen had the half-time lead through a Lewis Ferguson penalty, following a fairly bland opening 45. Callum McGregor leveled things in the second half for the visitors before Ryan Hedges put the Dons back in front. Celtic looked to have claimed victory through a quickfire double courtesy of Leigh Griffiths and Ryan Christie, however, a late Ferguson penalty had things finish level.
It was an intriguing clash at Pittodrie. Derek McInnes’ men had won three of their last four but questions were set to be asked about their mentality in matches against Celtic, the Hoops winning 18 of the last 20 meetings.
But against Neil Lennon’s side with answers to provide of their own, the stage was set for a massive match. In all honesty, the first half perhaps didn’t live up to its billing, a tight and cagey affair playing out.
In terms of the plan Aberdeen had though, it appeared to work well. They restricted Celtic in attack and with 42 minutes on the clock, McInnes’ men were handed a huge opportunity.
Oliver Ntcham clumsily bundled Ferguson over in the box. Willie Collum pointed to the spot and the Dons’ in-form midfielder slotted it home to give Aberdeen the 1-0 lead heading into the second 45 of drama.
Celtic got their response six minutes into the second half. Tom Rogic played in McGregor with a sumptuous pass, the stand-in Hoops captain beating Ash Taylor before putting the ball beyond Joe Lewis.
It opened the game up as both teams looked for their respective second goals. Cosgrove was introduced before the hour mark and his impact on his return from injury was almost instant.
Scott Wright robbed Shane Duffy of possession, Cosgrove doing so well to spin and shoot, Bain’s parry hitting Hedges and rolling into the net. A scene was set for a colossal final 25 minutes after the Welshman’s 65th minute goal.
Dejection would soon set in for Aberdeen. Griffiths set the wheels in motion for this, firing a brilliant first-time effort past Lewis 12 minutes after Hedges’ strike. A minute later Tommie Hoban gave away a penalty, allowing former Don Christie to fire Celtic ahead.
Another huge penalty call was to come, Conor McLennan wiped out in the box with seconds to go. Ferguson was cool again to seal a Dons point and end a six-goal thriller in the north-east. Here are three things we learned.
18 defeats from 20 against Celtic did not make for pretty reading heading into this one for Aberdeen. It was reason for people to question them ahead of the game, despite their impressive form of late.
McInnes’ men were certainly much-improved from previous Celtic encounters. It looked like Deja-Vu as the clock hit 90 minutes but the Dons showed strength to grab a merited point.
In the second half after Celtic’s equaliser, Aberdeen were on the ropes a bit. The introduction of a returning Cosgrove and Wright made all the difference for the Dons. Wright in particular was immense, adding the injection of creativity and pace McInnes needed for his side.
Cosgrove, whilst lacking sharpness, was a constant thorn in the side and his contribution to the second goal shouldn’t go unpraised. Up the other end though, Griffiths’ introduction inspired Celtic but not to the extent it would earn three points.
This was one of the best encounters of the campaign. A drab first half was contrasted with a second half of drama, penalty kicks and points spilled. On the balance of play, it was probably a fair outcome.
Three penalties were awarded in this one and referee Collum called every singled one right to his credit. Regardless, it was a brilliant clash for the neutral at Pittodrie.