Aberdeen haven’t been rewarded for a brilliant display against Celtic after a Kristoffer Ajer goal sealed a 2-1 Hoops win.

The Dons would have been looking to keep Celtic out for as long as possible but an early setback was had. Some confusion at the back allowed Leigh Griffiths to get in behind, and after some neat play, Callum McGregor put the Hoops in front.

Early setback. (Photo by Ewan Bootman/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The Pittodrie side managed to keep themselves in the game following this and it paid dividends. Conor McLennan got a ball into the box, which found centre-back Ash Taylor. His chest and strike beat Fraser Forster as Derek McInnes’ side responded brilliantly.

It gave them belief and they went through a real bright spell heading into half time, with Funso Ojo troubling Forster with a powerful strike. Even in the second half, Aberdeen nullified Celtic’s attacking prowess in spells.

Former Don Jonny Hayes got in behind for what was a rare Celtic break in the second half but his effort was smartly saved by Joe Lewis. Aberdeen were not keen on losing this match after putting so much into it.

Lewis made a smart stop. (Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Getty Images)

But there was heartbreak on the horizon. Ajer got behind the defensive line and blasted a winner high into the net for Celtic. Aberdeen remain joint-third following this result. Here are three things we learned.

Main is rewarded

After a brilliant performance and goal against Hamilton during the week, Curtis Main fully expected to keep 21-goal striker Sam Cosgrove out the team. He did just that as McInnes rewarded him for his work.

Whilst a goal wasn’t had, Main still put in a shift for Aberdeen. He chased down everything, pressing the Celtic backline relentlessly. It helped push the Dons up the park at times as a useful performance was turned in.

Brilliant effort. (Photo by Scott Baxter/Getty Images)

He’ll fancy himself to start against Kilmarnock on Wednesday.

Stark contrast from last Pittodrie showdown

Last time out, Celtic were up 4-0 on the Dons at half time and the game finished that way. You could forgive some Red Army supporters for fearing the worst once McGregor put Celtic in front.

But credit to McInnes’ men, that actually seemed to spur them on this time. Where in their last Granite City meeting they crumbled, Aberdeen used it as a springboard to dominate large parts of this game.

Dons confidence is back

After a five-game goalless drought, Aberdeen earned a much-needed win in midweek over Hamilton. Whilst that was good, a follow-up performance against the champions was needed to show they were really back.

A great display but no rewards. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

McInnes’ side more than proved they’re over their dull streak. A brilliant display was produced against Celtic and the Dons will be left dumbfounded as to how they haven’t taken at least a point.

More performances like this should make Aberdeen favourites for the best of the rest tag this term.

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