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Commons and Forrest on target for Celtic

17 Aug 2013 16:48:25

Commons and Forrest on target for Celtic

A Kris Commons penalty set Celtic on their way to a happy journey to Kazakhstan as Jamie Langfield's red card sparked the end of Aberdeen's perfect start to the season in a 2-0 defeat.

Commons converted on the stroke of half-time after the goalkeeper had been shown a straight red card for bringing down Georgios Samaras. The incident turned a finely-poised Scottish Premiership contest in Celtic's favour although they had to wait until the 87th minute to put the game beyond the 10 men when James Forrest broke clear to net.

The three points at a Pittodrie packed with fans and early-season optimism gave Celtic manager Neil Lennon the boost he wanted hours before their flight from Aberdeen Airport to the former Soviet state ahead of their Champions League qualifier against Shakhter Karagandy on Tuesday.

Celtic, who were still without Derk Boerrigter and started with pre-match fitness doubt Forrest on the bench, lacked natural width in their team and initially struggled to break Aberdeen down.

But with half-time approaching, the key moment came when Charlie Mulgrew cut open the home defence with a ball over the top. Samaras held off Russell Anderson and went round Langfield, who brought the Celtic player down with his hand eight yards out.

Referee Calum Murray pointed to the spot and showed the red card before Commons rifled his spot-kick just under the dive of substitute goalkeeper Nicky Weaver.

Mulgrew had initially started beside debutant Steven Mouyokolo in central defence before being moved into midfield to allow Efe Ambrose to drop back.

With Anthony Stokes and Amido Balde failing to overcome knocks, Samaras adopted an inside-left position with Commons given a more central role and Scott Brown playing further forward than usual.

Unlike Celtic, Aberdeen had wide men in abundance with Niall McGinn, Peter Pawlett and Jonny Hayes utilised behind frontman Calvin Zola and they made a lively start in front of a 20,017 crowd, many of whom had been tempted in by convincing victories over Kilmarnock and Motherwell.

Hayes and McGinn both wasted chances to send in dangerous crosses after beating their man but the former put in a better delivery which just evaded Zola and Pawlett.


PA

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