WELL, it would be boring if it was always straight-forward. Not that emotionally-frazzled Celtic supporters watching the topsy-turvy win over Aberdeen would necessarily agree just at the minute.

Ange Postecoglou’s men looked to be absolutely cruising to another routine victory at Pittodrie after early goals from Jota and Matt O’Riley had given them what is becoming a trademark commanding lead at the interval.

Aberdeen manager Stephen Glass shuffled his pack at half-time though and almost came up trumps, his men fighting back gamely to swiftly level the game through Funso Ojo’s set-piece creativity and goals from Christian Ramirez and Lewis Ferguson.

Just when the Dons thought they had Celtic’s number though, Jota hit back for his second to put them back in front, and to sicken Aberdeen further, it was goal they argued shouldn’t have stood.

It did though, and Celtic held on for their seventh Premiership victory in succession - and the 12th from their last 13 – to stay a point above Rangers at the top of the table.

If everything over the last couple of weeks from a Celtic perspective – right up until the 45th minute here in fact – has been about gushing praise of their free-flowing, attacking football, they showed here that while they have weaknesses at the back, they also possess a steely mental resolve.

Just as with the late victory over Dundee United with 10 men, this win owed as much to their grit as it did to their undoubted guile, a fact sure to please manager Postecoglou. Leagues are rarely won on mesmerising football alone, and Celtic would appear to also have the minerals to go the distance.

Declan Gallagher came out of cold storage for Aberdeen to take his place at the heart of a back three for the hosts, with Ross McCrorie and David Bates either side of him, and Calvin Ramsay and Jonny Hayes starting as wing-backs.

Josip Juranovic was a surprise absentee for Celtic, so Anthony Ralston continued at right-back as he had in the win over Motherwell on Sunday, but two-goal hero Tom Rogic was rested for O’Riley, while Jota was back in on the left to allow Daizen Maeda to replace Giorgos Giakoumakis through the middle. Both of those men would score within 20 minutes, suggesting they didn’t take too kindly to being benched.

It was a fast-paced opening and Celtic were first to genuinely threaten, a well-worked move down the right ending with Ralston crossing for Maeda, but the forward timed his jump all wrong and ended up glancing wide from a good position.

Celtic have been doing quite nicely cutting defences open of late without any help from the opposition, but Aberdeen stand-in keeper Gary Woods gave them a hand in any case as they then opened the scoring.

O’Riley curled a low cross along the six-yard box from the right, and it travelled all the way past the despairing grasp of Woods to the back post, where Jota was waiting to tap home. It was a fantastic ball, but there is no doubt that the former Accies keeper should have done better.

At Fir Park on Sunday, a quickfire second soon after Celtic’s opener killed the game stone dead, and they smelled blood once more.

Again, it was O’Riley’s left foot that did the damage, his low shot this time skidding off the heel of David Bates to wrong-foot Woods and nestle in his bottom left-hand corner.

It was a bit of bad luck for the Dons, it could be argued, but Celtic’s pace and movement was simply too hot for the hosts to handle. And while they weren’t creating bundles of clear-cut chances, there was a lingering threat that they could step it up and score almost any time they so desired.

Only a last-gasp Hayes intervention prevented Liel Abada tapping in a third at the back post from Maeda’s low cross, and as the dejected home players trooped off at half-time, it was difficult to see any way that Stephen Glass’s men could lay a glove on the visitors. In fact, they were just lacing them up.

The Aberdeen manager shook things up by introducing Matty Kennedy in place of Wright, and Ojo for Dylan McGeough in the middle of the park.

And boy, did they rally. They almost got a goal back immediately as Kennedy’s fired cross came within inches of being converted by the diving Ramirez, but the Aberdeen forward wouldn’t have to wait long to get on the scoresheet.

Referee Willie Collum awarded the hosts a free-kick on the left of the Celtic box, and a simple but devastatingly effective set-piece followed, with Ojo laying the ball across the box for Ramirez to steer low into Joe Hart’s bottom right-hand corner.

Suddenly, it was game on, and the home support were in raptures as Ramirez cracked the ball into the net once more, but the offside flag had long been raised.

Remarkably, Aberdeen did get their equaliser, and again it was a set-piece – this time from the opposite side – that was Celtic’s undoing. Ojo fired a more orthodox ball into the mixer this time, where Ferguson had run off his man to glance a header into the net.

No sooner though had the wild celebrations died down a little than Celtic hit the front once more to deflate Pittodrie. Though the sucker punch that fatally winded the hosts came in controversial circumstances.

Ralston came forward to head a clearance back into the Aberdeen area, with Jota anticipating the flight of the ball brilliantly to latch onto it and smash into the deck, across Woods and in.

The Aberdeen players were livid, with Abada appearing to block Bates as he came back out from an offside position, but referee Collum and the stand-side assistant were unmoved and the goal stood despite the home protests.

Aberdeen took a breath, and huffed and puffed at the Celtic door for the remainder of the game. But they couldn’t blow Postecoglou’s self-proclaimed ‘beautiful house’ down.