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Aberdeen secure second place finish as Celtic fall to rare home defeat

Aberdeen's Andrew Considine celebrates his goal (SNS Group / Craig Williamson)
Aberdeen's Andrew Considine celebrates his goal (SNS Group / Craig Williamson)

ABERDEEN clinched second place in the Ladbrokes Premiership with a surprise 1-0 win over champions Celtic at Parkhead on the final day of the season.

In front of a packed house, most of whom were celebrating seven successive title wins with the trophy lift to follow the game, a goalless first half ensued, before Andrew Considine scored for the visitors two minutes after the restart.

The Pittodrie side held out for the rest of the game with admirable resolve to register their first league win at Celtic Park in 26 attempts.

Dons defender Shay Logan was shown a straight red card by referee Craig Thomson after the final whistle following a melee and after which he celebrated boisterously in front of the home supporters.

It was Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes’ first win over Brendan Rodgers’ side in 10 games and was not the end to the league season the Northern Irishman wanted, with a William Hill Scottish Cup final against Motherwell at Hampden Park to come next Saturday as they look to clinch an unprecedented successive domestic treble.

Rodgers rang the changes, with star players Moussa Dembele, Kieran Tierney, Mikael Lustig, Dedryck Boyata, Oliver Ntcham and Tom Rogic all returning, while Mark Reynolds and Greg Stewart were reinstated by McInnes.

The home side, almost inevitably, bossed possession but suffered a scare in the 10th minute when Stewart’s free-kick from 20 yards, after Lustig had fouled former Celt Gary Mackay-Steven, smacked off Scott Bain’s crossbar and rebounded to safety.

Celtic stormed up the park and Dons goalkeeper Joe Lewis blocked Dembele’s close-range effort. As play swung to the other end, stretching Celtic defender Kristoffer Ajer put a clearance inches past Bain’s left-hand post.

Celtic’s control tightened and in the 25th minute only a brilliant last-ditch tackle by Aberdeen defender Anthony O’Connor prevented Dembele’s angled-drive from testing Lewis.

The tempo dipped towards the interval, but with less than a minute of the restart played Stewart swept a shot from the edge of the box high over the crossbar.

There was drama just seconds later when Kenny McLean played in Considine who drilled a low shot past Bain from 14 yards to stun Parkhead.

Rodgers soon made a double substitution, bringing on Leigh Griffiths for Dembele and Scott Sinclair for Tierney but found the Pittodrie side playing with added confidence.

However, Celtic reasserted themselves and on the hour Lewis made a fine save from Ntcham’s powerful drive, with O’Connor crucially preventing Callum McGregor from getting a free strike at the loose ball.

When Stuart Armstrong replaced Ntcham the home side pepped up and the visitors defence was asked tougher questions.

Lewis beat away a Griffiths free-kick, parried an Armstrong drive then saved a Griffiths header as Celtic lay siege to the Aberdeen box late in the game.

But it was to no avail as, on a day of records, Rodgers was handed his first domestic defeat at home since taking over in 2016.