It's been a tough couple of weeks off the park for Celtic with the deaths of Stevie Chalmers & Billy McNeill, both players being a big part of Celtic's history and of course members of the famous Lisbon Lions, they will be missed.Aberdeen vs Celtic
On the park Celtic had a job to do as they looked to finally seal the title away to Aberdeen, Celtic who went into the game 9 points clear with 3 games remaining knew that anything but a loss would secure the 8th title in a row for the Hoops. Aberdeen went into the game in third position knowing that 3 points would all but seal third spot, Steve Clarke's impressive Kilmarnock are breathing behind their necks so Aberdeen were not going to lie down for the Hoops.
Celtic came into the game with no new injuries to deal with, Kieran Tierney was expected to play some part despite needing a hernia op a decision many disagreed with but hey ho its always great to see him play.
Aberdeen had a number of key players missing including ex Celts Niall McGinn and Gary Mackay Steven who have been excellent for Aberdeen this season, they would be missed but Aberdeen have some decent replacements available for them with the likes of Greg Stewart and James Wilson in line for starts.
Starting Line Ups
It was great to see Timo Weah get a start even if it was out wide left a position I think French Eddy would be better suited to but regardless it was a big chance for the American to impress. Aberdeen meanwhile started with Greg Stewart wide left, the Scotsman who could be playing for Rangers next season will be looking to impress.
The game started and Celtic began with a quick and purposeful tempo moving the ball around with pace something that hasn't happened or been sustained enough this season, Timo Weah showed some good touches early on which was good to see. That tempo died down after 10 minutes with Aberdeen defending well and hitting Celtic on the counter. A Jozo Simunovic header from a McGregor free kick was about the only minor chance Celtic had in that period.First Half
It was Aberdeen who had grown into the game well who had the first golden chance when Celtic were caught playing out from the back, some sustained Aberdeen pressure from that saw a cross come in from Max Lowe towards James Wilson, the Manchester United loanee was free in the 6 yard box but volleyed into the ground and over the bar, it was a shocking miss and a wake up call for Celtic.
Remembering Stevie Chalmers...
Celtic where struggling to create any real openings and Timo Weah was booked on the 20th minute after Sam Cosgrove read his first touch well and the American pulled him back to stop Aberdeen countering. The resulting deep free kick caused some issues in the Celtic box but Kris Ajer managed to calm things down then play a superb long ball over the top for Odsonne Edouard, the Frenchman was clean through on goal but Joe Lewis came out and stopped him well at the expense of a corner, Edouard will be disappointed he didn't put the ball in the net.
As the game ticked on it was becoming a familiar story, Celtic had plenty of the ball but Aberdeen defended with a deep block and forced Celtic to cross it in with Aberdeen more than happy to deal with the crosses. Aberdeen then had their second big chance of the game when Scott McKenna picked the ball up and drove out into Celtics half on the counter, he crossed in well for Sam Cosgrove who's shot was superbly saved by Scott Bain however the rebound fell to James Wilson but the Englishman once again missed the target with the goal gaping, it was another huge let off for Celtic as they struggled to deal with Aberdeens counter attacks.
Wilson passing to some Aberdeen fans
James Forrest fired wide on the half hour mark after some good hold up play from French Eddy, but it was becoming a frustrating afternoon for the Hoops until they finally broke the deadlock somewhat against the run of play when Callum McGregor took the ball wide left with aches of space, he saw Mikael Lustig's late run into the back post and found the Swede with an excellent cross and Lustig diving headed the ball home. It was a huge goal for Celtic as we had been struggling to create anything of note prior to that.
Just before half time Shay Logan was booked for a *'s tackle on James Forrest, it's something we have come to expect from Logan who is a first class jebend. The resulting free kick came to nothing and Celtic had a corner just before half time which also came to nothing so we went into the break 1-0 up. It was a poor half truth be told but Lustig's goal meant we were 45 minutes away from 8 in a row.
The second half saw neither side make a change as Celtic looked to press home their dominance while Aberdeen looked to get back into the game and they should of done when James Wilson once again met a Max Lowe cross but failed to channel his inner Paulo Di Canio and volleyed wide. Another day Wilson could of had 3 goals and Aberdeen would come to rue his misses...2nd Half
Odsonne Edouard missed his second good opportunity of the match when Mika Lustig crossed to him at the back post, the Frenchman brought the ball down but his shot was well saved by the impressive Lewis. However the resulting corner was played in by Callum McGregor and met by Jozo Simunovic who grabbed his 2nd goal in as many games with an outstanding header maybe even better than the one he scored against Kilmarnock and he gave Celtic a 2-0 lead. It's worth noting Jozo absolutely * loved it!
What a header from Jozo!
After the second goal it was becoming very easy for Celtic as all the fight had left Aberdeen, the Dons should really of been level if not winning the match so they had a little reason for feeling sorry for themselves but truth be told it was down to James Wilson not taking his chances as to why they were no longer in the match.
Celtic took a quick free kick in their half around the hour mark and the ball was played to Timo Weah who found himself baring down on goal in a 3v2 situation with Forrest to his right and Hayes to his left, the right thing to do would of been to play the ball to Hayes who had come on for Kieran Tierney but the American couldn't make up his mind and lost the ball much to the fans and Hayes frustration. Celtic had a few corners and wide free kicks which came to nothing, it was the first time in a long time Celtic had scored from a direct corner with Jozo's goal so we shouldn't of been to surprised at that. Sam Cosgrove then took Jonny Hayes out in Celtic's half with a poorly timed tackle, Cosgrove got a yellow card but it wasn't looking good for Hayes however the Irishman recovered to stay on the pitch, Cosgrove who is an abomination of a footballer was having a very poor game.
Get * Logan ya *
Celtic were now in easy street but almost got caught out for it when Max Lowes cross was deflected to Greg Stewart, Stewart took a touch and had a free shot 20 yards out but just shot over the bar when in truth he should of done better, it was a reminder to Celtic that they were still very much in a game and 2-0 is never a safe score line.
Celtic made the game safe in the final moments when a swift counter attack saw Tom Rogic pick the ball up and drive towards the Aberdeen goal, the silky Australian who spent the entire game moving like an Oil tanker picked out Odsonne Edouard on the edge of the box, the Frenchman took a touch inside and fired back across Lewis's near post and into the net to seal the victory and league title for Celtic. Edouard had looked an isolated figure through out the game but despite that he should of at least had a goal prior to this.
Bain was outstanding in goal today
The full time whistle came and Celtic celebrated winning the title for the 8th time in a row!!!! As for the game it's self we did very well to win 3-0 and not concede as Aberdeen missed some guilt edge chances, we maybe just did enough to win but for me the performance was poor and we were bailed out by moments of quality rather than our overall play which is something we have said for far to often these last couple of seasons, however the job is done and we move onto Ibrox next week to party and thrash the Zombies on their patch!
It should of been done and dusted a few weeks back now however we have finally got there, 8 in a * row! No matter what people think of him Brendan Rodgers has played a huge part in getting us to this point, as has Ronny Deila and as has Neil Lennon the man who at the end of the season will be lifting the trophy. Much has been said over the past few weeks about Lennon's chances of getting the job full time and the style of football we have been playing since he has retaken over, while I like many have been critical of us over the past few weeks in terms of some of our performances and would like to think we are looking at all possible options in regards to our future manager, I think we can all agree that there is no one more fitting to lift the trophy this season than Neil Lennon a man who bleeds Celtic, regardless of whether he is here next season or not he needs to be heavily thanked for coming in at short notice and steering us to the title and if he does get the job full time he should be backed to the hills.8 In a Row & Neil Lennon
It's been a tough few weeks off the park as said after the deaths of two Celtic legends, but they will both be looking down upon us with smiles tonight as the players fans and staff of Celtic football celebrate yet another title. The season is not finished however as we have a Glasgow Derby next weekend against Sevco, and in a few weeks time we go for the treble treble in the Scottish cup final against Hearts, we will need all our players to be fit and ready for that.
A final special mention to Mika Lustig who injured himself at the end of the game, the Swede is out of contract at the end of the season and this may be his season over/Celtic career, if it is Lustig has been an outstanding servant to this football club over the past 8 years and in his prime has been one of the best right backs we have seen in recent years, the man absolutely gets us and has given his all even when over the past couple of years its clear to see his legs are going, he may yet return next season but either way thank you Mika for today's goal and for your performances at Celtic over the many years you have been here!