RAIN, hail or shine – or even gale-force winds – Celtic just always seem to win at Pittodrie.

The path to a league title isn’t always pretty, and Celtic’s latest victory on Aberdeen’s patch – their eighth in a row since losing here way back in February 2016 – could hardly have been uglier. But win, they did, and in doing so, Neil Lennon’s side cleared one of the major obstacles between them and their ninth consecutive league flag.

Kristoffer Ajer’s late strike was harsh on the home side, who handled the blustery conditions better than the visitors throughout, but when it came to the crunch, Celtic again came up with the moment of quality that separates them from every other side in the division.

Ajer may have been the hero, but it was the magical feet of Odsonne Edouard that carved open the Aberdeen rearguard, his backheel to spark the move that won the match a rare nugget of genuine quality among the drudgery that was the hallmark the afternoon.

The match seemed to be following a predictable pattern when Callum McGregor scored to put Celtic ahead early on, but Ash Taylor’s well taken equaliser midway through the first half was no more than Derek McInnes’s men deserved, and it looked as though their endeavour would rewarded with at least a point.

Celtic couldn’t have argued with that, given how they struggled to dominate as they are used to in the conditions, but their refusal to settle for it spoke volumes for their mentality.

Perhaps Hamilton manager Brian Rice had a point when he suggested that wind meters might be used to determine whether or not a game should go ahead. After a decent opening half hour, this game descended into something of a farce, barely resembling a football match at all at times.

Aberdeen started the game well, but they were complicit in their own downfall as they fell behind within 10 minutes.

Leigh Griffiths nudged Scott McKenna off the ball too easily as they contested a swirling up and under, allowing the frontman to advance and help the ball across to Edouard, who in turn helped it on to James Forrest. The winger cut inside and got a shot away that Joe Lewis blocked, but it fell perfectly for McGregor to tuck home into the bottom right-hand corner.

There was a blow for Celtic as in-form Greg Taylor hobbled off holding his groin to be replaced by Jonny Hayes, and another was to follow as Aberdeen levelled.

The ball was crossed in from the right by Connor McLennan, where Matty Kennedy touched it on to find Taylor in acres of space around the back of the Celtic defence. He had time to steady himself before firing a half volley beyond Fraser Forster like a seasoned striker.

The home fans were then screaming for a penalty when McLennan went down in the area as Christopher Jullien hung out a foot, but the defender made no contact as the Dons man flung himself to the deck, referee Andrew Dallas calling it right by producing a yellow card for simulation.

Griffiths then got himself a needless yellow card too as he argued the toss with the official after fouling Lewis Ferguson, before Taylor followed him into the book for chopping through the back of Edouard as things started to get testy.

The second half started with Aberdeen on the front foot again, with Celtic continuing to look uncomfortable in the blustery conditions.

Lennon had seen enough, with Ryan Christie replacing Griffiths and Celtic going to a 4-3-3. That allowed them a little more control of the game, but there was still nothing by the way of goalmouth action to speak of at either end.

If Aberdeen felt they were comfortable though, they were given a reminder of the danger Celtic always carry, as clever play from Edouard saw Hayes scampering in on Lewis. He went for power, and the big keeper stood up well to block behind.

Aberdeen failed to heed that warning, and a moment of magic from Edouard made all the difference as Celtic snatched it with nine minutes to go.

Picking the ball up in the middle of the park, the forward produced a backheel into the path of McGregor that opened up the home defence. He advanced before feeding the ball to Forrest, who jinked across the box before picking up Ajer arriving like a steam train unopposed from right-back.

The big defender, like Taylor before him, showed composure to take a touch and sidefoot high past Lewis.

If Edouard had the fans shaking their heads in disbelief at his quality in that moment, he had them scratching their heads at how he missed an opportunity to seal the game moments later.

Forrest was released down the right by McGregor, and the winger picked out Edouard at the back post. He had a fresh air swipe at the ball first of all, which left Lewis floundering on the goalline, but Edouard somehow managed to then hit the keeper with his second effort from a couple of yards when any elevation at all would have wrapped up the points.

It didn’t matter in the end, and neither did the fact that Celtic failed to hit their usual heights. They got their usual win here, and that’s what they came for.