[0] Football: CELTS FALL LIKE History in Making as Dons Hit Home NINEPINS!; ABERDEEN ........2 CELTIC ...............0

Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland), December 23, 2001 | Go to article overview

[0] Football: CELTS FALL LIKE History in Making as Dons Hit Home NINEPINS!; ABERDEEN ........2 CELTIC ...............0


Byline: GORDON WADDELL at Pittodrie

ABERDEEN ........2 CELTIC ...............0

ABERDEEN ended Celtic's 18-game unbeaten league run and created their own slice of history in a stunning 90 minutes.

The Dons lived up to every bit of their home hype as they stretched their winning run at fortress Pittodrie to nine games - and gave boss Ebbe Skovdahl his first win over the Hoops.

Robbie Winters' 58th minute penalty and Darren Mackie's injury time second, pouncing on a nightmare gaffe by Rab Douglas, sent the Dons fans into a winter wonderland in the snow-covered Granite City.

Despite Derek Whyte's red card and NINE other yellows in the game, the Dons were well worth their win in a thriller.

Much had been made of the Dons' bid to equal the nine wins in a row of Alex Ferguson's side.

So much so that another nine in a row had been forgotten - the number of games Skovdahl had gone without a win against Celtic.

In his time here he'd suffered eight defeats and a draw and scored just two goals against the Hoops' 35!

If ever there was a time to lay that particular ghost to rest, it was in front of a packed Pittodrie when you hadn't lost there since July.

Skovdahl had to do without talented left-back Kevin McNaughton, replacing him with Jamie McAllister.

But his decision to replace wide man Ben Thornley in the starting line-up with the more combative Cato Guntveit perhaps told you more about his desire not to lose rather than stretch that winning streak.

As for O'Neill, he restored his preferred starting line-up - minus long-term crock Didier Agathe - with Henrik Larsson, Neil Lennon, Paul Lambert and Alan Thompson all back after Wednesday's CIS Cup win over Livingston.

The weather was always going to be the other contributing factor but with the Sky dosh in the coffers and local police on double time, there was no chance of a call-off, snow or not.

Although the surface was a bit treacherous, the players were in more danger from a hail of snowballs from the stands in the first few minutes.

John Hartson in particular suffered a pelting from a few mindless morons, although the Celtic support were just as culpable - only less accurate.

Neither side got to grips with the game in the early stages but it was Aberdeen who came closest first, prompting panic in the normally unflappable Celts back line.

Jamie McAllister knocked a ball to Eugene Dadi just inside the box and the Ivory Coast-born striker produced a sweet bit of footwork to leave his former Toulouse team-mate Bobo Balde swinging at fresh air.

From the cross, Robbie Winters and then Derek Young fired in shots only to see them blocked and finally scrambled out for a corner.

Celtic just couldn't find a gear and even when they did finally venture forward Stilian Petrov was rightly booked for an outrageous dive under little pressure from Roberto Bisconti.

Whyte quickly joined him in Stuart Dougal's book for a bad tackle from behind on Hartson, which immediately prompted the Don skipper to switch duties with Philip McGuire and take on the less physical Larsson.

Celtic won their first corner in 24 minutes but Petrov and Thompson struggled to take it once again under a hail of snowballs that looked more like a meteor shower. Dons seemed to take a lot of confidence from Celtic's stuttering start and twice in four minutes just after the half-hour mark they came close.

First, Robbie Winters carved Celts open with a beautiful crossfield run. He took a return ball from Dadi on the edge of the box but his shot looked too tame to trouble Douglas.

We'll give the keeper the benefit of the doubt and say it was the surface but somehow he managed to let the trundler squirm through his hands. He was lucky it hit his trailing leg and crawled out for a corner.

Again the Dons carved a path through Celts midfield, this time with a superb turn and run from Derek Young. …

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[0] Football: CELTS FALL LIKE History in Making as Dons Hit Home NINEPINS!; ABERDEEN ........2 CELTIC ...............0
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