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Celtic nine points clear after win at Aberdeen

Tom Rogic scores

Tom Rogic (number 18) netted his seventh goal of the season

Celtic moved nine points clear at the top of the Premiership after beating Aberdeen at Pittodrie.

Tom Rogic’s controlled half-volley put the reigning champions ahead midway through the first half.

Dons goalkeeper Joe Lewis denied Scott Sinclair, Moussa Dembele and Rogic as the visitors pressed for a second after the interval.

Having struggled to create, Aberdeen had a late flurry and Craig Gordon prevented an Erik Sviatchenko own goal.

Two victories over Celtic at Pittodrie last season had kept the Dons close to Ronny Deila’s team until the last few weeks of the season.

But Derek McInnes’ men drop from second to fourth in a tight table having played a game more than Celtic, who they meet in next month’s Scottish League Cup final.

Wizard of Oz

He rarely finishes a match but he rarely needs to these days – Rogic is quickly becoming Rodgers’ first name on the team sheet.

It was a magical finish from the midfielder who, once again glided and floated his away around the edge of the opposition box looking for openings and killer passes.

Shay Logan’s header inside the box was one without conviction and when the ball fell to Rogic, he took a touch and then deftly flicked the ball past Joe Lewis in the Aberdeen goal with the outside of his left boot.

He had plenty of other opportunities to add more, as did Sinclair and Dembele, but Lewis produced a plethora of stunning saves to keep the Dons in it.

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Keeper Lewis was Aberdeen’s top performer on the day

Fight and bite

For long spells the football was not great but with tackles flying and challenges thumping, there was full commitment and plenty of passion on display from both sides.

Stuart Armstrong and Scott Brown linked up well once again in Celtic’s midfield, allowing the wide men to drift and sniff for openings on the wings.

The solidity Celtic have displayed for much of the season was on show but the usual flair and potency in front of goal was missing.

Dons’ late flurry

Derek McInnes caught many by surprise by starting the match with no recognised striker. Wes Burns was given the task of providing the firepower but it was an experiment that did not provide the desired outcome.

The Aberdeen boss said before the game that pace was the key to unlocking the Celtic defence but the home side looked at their most dangerous when Adam Rooney came off the bench in the second half.

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The hosts only really threatened late in the game

It was a much improved performance from the one that led to the midweek defeat at the hands of Hamilton but in reality they only really looked like equalising after a sustained period of pressure near the end of the match.

James Maddison came on at the same time as Rooney and his influence caused Celtic problems, with Graeme Shinnie almost through before being crowded out in the visitors’ box.

Maddison then volleyed over and the midfielder’s free-kick delivery was headed on by Sviatchenko only for Gordon to make a crucial late save.

Live Text

Match ends, Aberdeen 0, Celtic 1.

Second Half ends, Aberdeen 0, Celtic 1.

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Craig Gordon.

Attempt saved. Adam Rooney (Aberdeen) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

James Maddison (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Cristian Gamboa (Celtic).

Jonny Hayes (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Cristian Gamboa (Celtic).

Attempt missed. Stuart Armstrong (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.

Attempt missed. James Maddison (Aberdeen) left footed shot from the centre of the box is just a bit too high.

Foul by Andrew Considine (Aberdeen).

Cristian Gamboa (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Jayden Stockley (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Stuart Armstrong (Celtic).

Attempt missed. Jozo Simunovic (Celtic) header from the centre of the box is too high.

Substitution, Aberdeen. Jayden Stockley replaces Wes Burns.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Anthony O’Connor.

Attempt blocked. Patrick Roberts (Celtic) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.

Substitution, Celtic. Cristian Gamboa replaces Mikael Lustig.

Mikael Lustig (Celtic) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Scott Brown (Celtic) is shown the yellow card.

Jonny Hayes (Aberdeen) is shown the yellow card.

Jonny Hayes (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Mikael Lustig (Celtic).

Substitution, Celtic. Patrick Roberts replaces James Forrest.

Attempt missed. Moussa Dembele (Celtic) right footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the left.

Foul by Andrew Considine (Aberdeen).

Stuart Armstrong (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution, Celtic. Nir Bitton replaces Tomas Rogic.

Foul by Adam Rooney (Aberdeen).

Erik Sviatchenko (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Graeme Shinnie (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Mikael Lustig (Celtic).

Attempt missed. James Forrest (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

Foul by Adam Rooney (Aberdeen).

Erik Sviatchenko (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Adam Rooney (Aberdeen).

Emilio Izaguirre (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Shaleum Logan (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Tomas Rogic (Celtic).

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/37737662