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Last Updated: Saturday, 17 February 2007, 14:23 GMT
Aberdeen 1-2 Celtic
By Thomas McGuigan

Craig Beattie
Craig Beattie gave Celtic the lead in the ninth minute
Celtic continued their relentless charge towards the SPL championship with a convincing win against Aberdeen.

Craig Beattie gave the visitors an ninth-minute lead when he collected Shunsuke Nakamura's pass and fired home from an acute angle from 12 yards.

The Japanese playmaker made it two with a trademark free-kick in 20 minutes.

Steve Lovell spurned Aberdeen's best chance in the first half. Darren Mackie scored a late consolation for the Dons, but Celtic held on for victory.

Vennegoor of Hesselink returned to the Celtic side after suspension at the expense of Kenny Miller - who dropped to the bench.

Jiri Jarosik replaced Aiden McGeady, as Celtic boss Gordon Strachan utilised his squad.

Aberdeen boss Jimmy Calderwood made only one change to the team which beat Dunfermline 3-0 last weekend, as Lee Miller returned in attack at the expense of Dan Smith who dropped to the bench.

The home side looked bright in the opening stages, with forward Steve Lovell looking dangerous against Celtic's rearguard.

Beattie fired Celtic in front when he collected Nakamura's perfectly weighted pass and ran from the half-way line before shooting across goal and under goalkeeper Jamie Langfield's body.

The goal seemed to spark the visitors into life and Nakamura was at the heart of most of their moves.

Celtic went further ahead courtesy of the Japanese midfielder.

Russell Anderson was adjudged to have fouled Vennegoor of Hesselink on the edge of the box and Nakamura sent a curling shot into the left-hand corner from the edge of the 18-yard-box.

Shunsuke Nakamura
Nakamura arrowed in another superb free-kick

Paul Hartley had a penalty appeal turned down when he appeared to be felled by Chris Clark.

Lovell spurned Aberdeen's best chance of the first half when he headed Richard Foster's cross over the bar.

Barry Nicholson then sent a shot just over in the 43rd minute after Celtic failed to properly clear a cross ball.

Aberdeen continued to press for an equaliser before the break - Chris Clark's deflected shot looked to be sailing into the top-corner, but Artur Boruc brilliantly turned the ball over the bar.

Jarosik could have scored a third for Celtic after 55 minutes, when he collected Vennegoor of Hesselink's pass, but his attempted chip was superbly tipped away by Langfield.

The game seemed to be drifting to its conclusion with no more goals, before a late Aberdeen goal set up a tense finish.

Mackie advanced on goal - with Celtic claiming for offside - and fired the ball home under Boruc.

Despite some frantic attacking in injury-time, Aberdeen could not fashion an equaliser and Celtic held on for victory.


Aberdeen: Langfield, Hart, Anderson, Considine, Foster, Nicholson, Severin, Clark, Mackie, Miller, Lovell. Subs: Soutar, Dempsey, Touzani, Smith, Winter, Maguire, Daal.

Booked: Foster, Severin, Anderson 71. Goals: Mackie 90.

Celtic: Boruc, Wilson, Pressley, McManus Naylor, Hartley, Lennon, Jarosik, Nakamura, Vennegoor of Hesselink, Beattie. Subs: Brown, Telfer, Miller, Sno, Gravesen, McGeady, O'Dea.

Booked: McManus. Goals: Beattie 9, Nakamura 20.

Att: 16,711

Ref: C Thomson



SEE ALSO
Strachan praises scorer Beattie
17 Feb 07 |  Celtic
Calderwood rues lack of fortune
17 Feb 07 |  Aberdeen


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