SAM Cosgrove showed again yesterday how lethal he can be in front of goal. Unfortunately for Aberdeen’s hopes of getting a result from Celtic Park, he was about to demonstrate that he is capable of being equally deadly in a tackle.

A sweet Odsonne Edouard finish had freshly reasserted Celtic’s supremacy in this match after Cosgrove’s 20th of a prolific season had equalised an early finish from Christopher Jullien when the big Englishman hared 20 yards in an attempt to win the ball back from Kris Ajer in front of the Aberdeen fans. This he duly did, although the manner in which he leapt into the tackle was deemed reckless enough for Euan Anderson to reach for a straight red card. As he trudged disconsolately off the pitch, Scott Brown - on the receiving end of a red card tackle from the same player on Cosgrove's Aberdeen debut last February - got in his face, sparking a confrontation which involved pretty much every player.

While there could have been serious ankle injury had Ajer’s foot been planted, try telling that to Derek McInnes. He felt a red card was harsh as no contact had been made. But the bottom line was a tenth league win in a row for the Parkhead side who made sure they will be top of the tree at Christmas by five points.

Four goals to the good before half time when these teams last met in October, Celtic looked like they might rack up another cricket score here in the early stages. Jullien was posing menace from set plays, and he struck the bar from a wicked early corner when Zac Vyner’s headed clearance came back off his shoulder.

The effort the giant Frenchman had from a Ryan Christie corner on the other side wasn’t the cleanest either, but it did the job. His left foot strike reared up off the ground and looped high into the top corner, with Joe Lewis unable to do anything other than give it a helping hand on the way in.

This was a rearguard action from a deep lying Dons defence, with only a series of heroic last-gasp blocks and a few unnecessary, extra touches from Edouard and co preventing the hosts from adding to their lead. The Frenchman tested Lewis with a shot and Christie tugged one wide, before the former Aberdeen loan player was booked for diving with Ash Taylor in close attendance.

Aberdeen had posed negligible attacking threat to this point but their 20-goal striker was about to change all that. One of the images of the sporting week was Cristiano Ronaldo hanging in the air to score a header against San Marino and yesterday Cosgrove conjured a Scottish equivalent. While Ajer had headed clear a James Wilson cross, Niall McGinn returned it with interest and Cosgrove timed his leap perfectly, getting the run on Ajer to nod it past Forster from inside the six yard box. The big goalkeeper may reflect his best chance of keeping it out would have been leaving his line to claim the cross himself.

Referee Anderson trooped off the pitch at half-time to a cacophony of boos, as a result of him failing to award a penalty against James Wilson for what they felt was a foul on Edouard inside the box. This seemed a harsh fate to me, as Wilson seemed to get the ball first and plenty of it.

This hadn’t been Edouard’s day so far – Shay Logan nipped into clear when he dithered instead of rolling the ball into the bottom corner – but the Frenchman’s time was come. With Mikey Johnston off the bench, playing off the left, and James Forrest back on the right wing, as Celtic pushed on in a bit to re-take their lead, Kris Ajer carried the ball into midfield. From then it was onto Christie, whose cushioned pass hit Edoaurd in stride. The Frenchman did the rest, tucking the ball sweetly into the bottom corner with his left foot.

Aberdeen were still right in the game at 2-1 but it was then that the match’s genuine flashpoint occurred. John Gallagher, on from the bench for McGinn, was released down the inside right, Ajer taking a risk by going to ground in the penalty box but timing his challenge to perfection. Cosgrove lunged in recklessly in front of the visiting fans, and must have instantly regretted his rush of blood to the head.

Cue endless debates on how the tackle measured up to the challenge by Hibs’ Ryan Porteous against Rangers at Easter Road on Friday night, but it is the kind of sliding challenge which once made Scottish football great but are now forbidden. Referee Anderson dug out the red card, but opted against any further action as Brown remonstrated with the striker on his way off the pitch.

Frimpong had a late chance on the counter then clipped Gallagher late on, harshly booked for it by referee Anderson. Aberdeen’s last chance had come and gone when Lewis Ferguson could only fire a free kick over the bar.