Celtic faced McInnes’ Miserable Marauders and claimed the points with a great header from reborn Defender\Striker Dedryk Boyata.
That’s us now on 67 points and 25 clear. if the Sheep and the Huns can draw another 2 games each, could we get that Guard of Honour when we next face Sevco at home…believe!
The stats for last nights encounter ( via BBC):
Heres the ratings…feel free to add your comments below
The man who will be signing a nice new and in fairness deserved contract this month ( begone Chelski begone!) didn’t have one of his best nights despite not having much to do. Gordon did do well to command his area near the end of the game as Aberdeen punted balls and the ref dished out free kicks willy-nilly but his distribution was haphazard and very slow. At one point he managed to play a hospital ball towards Kieran Tierney which ended up with the youngster nursing a sore leg and shouting abuse at his keeper. The Sweeper Keeper idea is still quite a bit away and for now I would be happy to see him releasing the ball to our forwards a lot quicker when opponents attacks are broken up.
Already back to looking like he has never been away. Powering up and down the line and had a lovely drop shoulder and run passed Johnny Hayes that should have seen a yellow card for the Aberdeen imp, but of course didn’t from the blinded referee. At one point Tierney was playing on the Celtic forward line with Scott Brown ushering him forward as Celtic looked to make the breakthrough, maybe talk of that potential use as a winger isn’t too far off the mark.
Gamboa was a little bit unfortunate to get dropped after a fine display against Hearts but Rodgers went for height and dependability by bringing back the big Swede. Had an okay game with the odd stray pass here and there but helped keep the whispers of Dons attacks to a minimum. The calming influence and experience will be needed though to help the younger heads around him especially in the centre of defence.
All over the place for the first 30 minutes and I worried he might even get taken off at one point. Seemed to be a combination of nerves and over confidence if such a thing can exist as he attempted stray pass after stray pass and put his own defence under pressure. Gradually settled down and tried to keep bringing the ball into the Aberdeen half to start attacks against the opponents stubborn line up. Needs to work on keeping it simple, we really don’t need flashy from our defenders, unless theyre named KT of course and in the opponents half.
The ball goes up, ball goes in the net. It was one of those nights that Celtics opponents thought they were going to get away with a sneaky snuff-out but thankfully a set piece destroyed those dull ambitions from McInnes and his troupe. Boyata had a very good game, kept it simple, cleared his lines, took and gave a short pass when needed and did his job at the defence end before supplying the killer punch at the other. The performance was almost good enough to make Ralph forget Efe had left\still there\left in limbo.
The Captain had one of those games were he went from headless chicken impersonator to cool calm head of experience. After a slow start helping the side adopt to a new set-up, Broony was soon back to breaking up play and being that in-your-face presence that we know and love. Every time you think he is looking tired, he suddenly seems to find a new burst of energy and at one point made a great run back to nullify a challenge when it looked like the Dons had broken through. As the season has progressed, in each game Broony seems to edge back towards a sweeper style covering role allowing younger fresher Celtic legs to push forward in the last 3o minutes. Hopefully new signing Kouassi Eboue can soon get up to speed and step in to give our Captain an actual rest as being in the wars must take its toll on our leader.
One of those nights when you feel Biton isn’t doing much and then he goes and does a lovely swivel, turn or pass that has you smiling and applauding. The midfielder wasn’t shy at getting stuck in either when up against the physical Dons side and did his bit to help get the result. Didn’t have much chance at getting forward and didn’t succeed in breaking down the Aberdeen lines of defence and Biton will hope to make more of an impact with this current opportunity of Armstrong being out injured as well as young Henderson and new signing Eboue challenging for a starting position.
For all the classy slow steady silkiness of Biton, the Celtic midfield balanced that with the energy and enthusiasm of McGregor. Got about the pitch and channelled plenty of effort into closing down space, pressuring opponents and also tried to link up with the forwards on attacks but unlike the Hearts game, no joy this time around. Will never completely win over the fans but as noted by the manager Celtic had to tire the Dons out and the probing and pressuring by McGregor helped in that respect before he was replaced for Henderson towards to end.
Struggling at the moment. Lots of murmurs from the crowd as run after run results in disappointment and Jamesie is just lacking that wee bit of confidence to gain half a yard and leave his man in the dust. Did have a few good defensive tackles but its at the other end where we hope to see him impress. The current system doesnt seem to be helping him with no clear centre forward for him to play give and go with. Sadly for Forrest, once we have a striker back to fitness, its likely James will be looking at the bench as cover for Paddy Roberts on current form. Subbed for Gary Mackay Stevens.
The smallest centre forward in Celtics history? Roberts has did pretty well in last two games playing up and around the centre. It cant be easy changing your game from a facing-side on winger against a full-back to playing with your back to goal against a giant lump of wood centre back. Roberts always looked for the ball and had some nice interaction here and there with midfielders and Sinclair. The only real worry was seeing Roberts twice running through towards goal and each time he tried to square the ball inside for Sinclair. A fully confident Roberts would be expected to expertly curl the ball into the bottom corner so maybe just a little boost to his finishing confidence is needed.
Despite the high goal count and impressive stamina, this season I’ve been asking for Scott Sinclair to stand up more in games and be the leading man in the side and cometh the striker crisis, cometh the man. Sinclair played all along the front line and despite constant boots, tugs and shoves from the Aberdeen players, he continued to show for the ball, hold up play, dribble and try and make opportunities. Hit the bar with a chance and also swung in a delightful ball for Boyatas winner and while he can be happy with his efforts he will be another who welcomes back a centre forward to allow him to get back to his natural game.
Came on for Forrest and had some decent runs down the right wing. Will hope to get more game time as final decision making was a little off and just needs honed given his recent absence.
On for Roberts to shore up game towards the end as Dons tried to pile forward. Had a great “OUT!” style clearance which helped remove any danger in our crowded box. Will have to be patient given Boyata’s current form but given the managers liking for mixing things up, we may see the 3 central defenders start before seasons end.
I watched as the young midfielder stood on sidelines for a few minutes taking in instruction from his manager. Henderson then came on to have a good impact. Took the ball in dangerous positions to help out his defence, played some nice passes both long and short and dictated the play as the clock ran down towards victory and even got stuck into a Don at the final whistle and beyond. Will probably have to be happy with a subs role for rest of this season but the future is looking brighter for Henderson in the Hoops under Rodgers.
Somewhere over Edinburgh way, sits a man who is wondering what all this ‘Super Brendan Rodgers!’ patter is all about. No, I don’t mean former Celtic boss Neil Lennon, I mean Hearts Director of Football, Craig Levein. Wasn’t it the former Scotland boss who was lambasted for playing a side without any strikers. Ridiculed the fellow was and now he has to watch on as Brendan blatantly copies that masterstroke of management by fielding a side with no focal point up front. The only differences being of course that Brendan can make the system actually work and the Celtic boss is having to do it through necessity ( Dembele injured, Griffiths – well take your pick from injured, unfit, sulking, missing, AWOL on Tinder, and something called a Ciftci last seen shouting “SIGN ME” round the old Ravenscraig factory).
Rodgers has did magnificent this season and this was yet another victory that was hard-earned through excellent management. Lest we forget we were missing Dembele, Griffiths, Armstrong and Tom Rogic as attacking forces yet still managed to find a way to victory and also keep a clean sheet. The current line up did get mixed up with each other here and there at times but that’s only to be expected given such personnel changes. Hopefully as injured players make their way back to fitness, we should see a few rotations and rest periods being exercised to ensure the Treble charge maintains momentum and carries over into the CL qualifiers. No doubt Brendan has it all under control.