THE final scoreline at the end of the 90 minutes may have been fairly comfortable for Celtic.

And the Parkhead club might have reclaimed top spot in the cinch Premiership from St Mirren thanks to the 3-1 victory.

The Scottish champions, though, were made to work hard for their three points against Aberdeen at Pittodrie this afternoon and endured a few nervous moments before finally doing so.

Goals from Liel Abada, Kyogo Furuhashi and Matt O’Riley ultimately ensured that Brendan Rodgers’ team prevailed against Barry Robson’s side.

READ MORE: Alexandro Bernabei branded 'bit of an idiot' by Chris Sutton

But Cameron Carter-Vickers and Reo Hatate both going off injured hampered their efforts and they had been in very real danger of conceding an equaliser before O’Riley struck with six minutes remaining.

So what does their second win of the 2023/24 season mean for Celtic? And should Aberdeen have had something to show for their efforts? Here are five talking points.


Jonny Hayes, who failed to recover from the thigh injury he picked up in training on Friday in time to be involved, was replaced in the Aberdeen team by Ryan Duncan today.

Losing such an experienced and dangerous player was far from ideal for the hosts. They needed Graeme Shinnie, their captain and left-sided midfielder, to lead by example.

The 32-year-old, though, contributed to his team falling behind in the 12th minute with rash and needless barge on Anthony Ralston out wide.

O’Riley floated a delivery into the opposition penalty box, Daizen Maeda rose and nodded it down and Abada stole in at the back post and netted.

READ MOREBrendan Rodgers opens up on Celtic defender's Parkhead future

Worse was to follow after Bojan Miovski had, following good work by Duncan and Duk and some sloppy play from Ralston and Carter-Vickers, levelled the encounter.

Nicky Devlin attempted to head a high ball back to his goalkeeper Kelle Roos and gifted possession straight to Furuhashi on the edge of the area.

The Japanese internationalist gratefully accepted the gift and rifled beyond Roos.

Aberdeen caused Celtic all kinds of problems today. They got in their faces, refused to give them a second on the ball and created decent scoring opportunities in the final third.

Duk and Shay Morris, in particular, were superb. Miovski, Polvara and Leighton Clarkson all went close. Joe Hart had his busiest afternoon in a long time.

The self-inflicted nature of the goals his charges conceded and the defeat his side suffered will be a source of frustration to Robson.


The new Premiership campaign is only 180 minutes old and there are sure to be controversies over VAR decisions and calls for it to be scrapped in the months ahead.

But today the new technology got a huge call which had a massive bearing on the final outcome correct.

READ MOREBrendan Rodgers in Celtic admission on post-window Saudi Arabia bid

Linesman Calum Spence flagged for offside when Abada broke the deadlock. However, after his colleagues had viewed replays of the goal back in Clydesdale House in Glasgow and ruled that Dante Polvara had played the winger on, referee Kevin Clancy allowed it to stand.

The length of time taken to arrive at the decision was unfortunate. However, it was the correct ruling and showed that when VAR is used well it can prevent injustices from happening.   


Hatate, one of the stand-out performers for Celtic last season, being left out of the side against Ross County last weekend was a major surprise for supporters.

He was not involved from kick-off once again today. David Turnbull retained his place alongside Matt O’Riley and Callum McGregor in midfield.

But fielding two creative playmakers in such a tough away fixture was perhaps the wrong call by Rodgers. Turnbull failed to make an impression on proceedings in the first-half and he was, even though his team was leading 2-1, replaced by his club mate at the start of the second-half.

Hatate seemed to make a real difference. He brought a much-needed steel to the treble winners’ play in the middle of the park and they were far more dominant than they had been previously before he limped off with 20 minutes remaining. They could and probably should have killed the game off. 

Rodgers may think twice about naming the fans’ favourite on the bench in future.


The return from Carter-Vickers from knee surgery in the James Forrest testimonial match against Athletic Bilbao at the start of this month was celebrated by everyone at Parkhead; the centre half was absolutely immense last season as Celtic lifted the League Cup, Premiership and Scottish Cup.

But the United States internationalist will clearly need time to get up to full speed. He was at fault for the Miovski strike and failed to reappear after the break. His place was taken by his young understudy Stephen Welsh.

Having new signing Maik Nawrocki and Welsh in the heart of their defence could have proved problematic for Celtic. But the former was solid and the latter, who last featured in a competitive fixture in October last year, also acquitted himself admirably.

READ MOREBrendan Rodgers opens up on Celtic defender's Parkhead future

The issues mounted for Celtic when Hatate suffered a knock. He was replaced by Odin Thiago Holm and Abada made way for Yang Hyun-jun. Yang set up O’Riley for their third and helped his side see out a hard-fought victory which they will take no end of confidence from.

Rodgers, though, will be hoping that Carter-Vickers is available for the difficult League Cup encounter with Kilmarnock at Rugby Park next Sunday.  


There is, it is fair to say, no love lost between Aberdeen supporters and Celtic fans. But the crowd inside Pittodrie stood as one to pay tribute to Craig Brown ahead of kick-off. There was a minute’s applause in memory of the late Scotland manager.

Brown, a former Aberdeen manager and director who passed away in June at the age of 82 following a short illness, deserved to have his long and remarkable life and career honoured in such a warm fashion.