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Samaras snatches win for Hoops
Published : 16 Mar 2013 17:47:49
A dramatic injury-time strike from substitute Georgios Samaras gave Celtic the points in a 4-3 thriller against Aberdeen at Parkhead.
Kris Commons fired the home side into the lead inside 15 seconds - but instead of a Hoops romp, Scott Vernon levelled with a minute of the first-half remaining and Josh Magennis grabbed a double to set the Dons on the way to what would have been an unlikely victory.
However, Celtic showed the spirit of champions and Charlie Mulgrew reduced the deficit before Gary Hooper equalised with three minutes remaining leaving the stage set for Samaras, who had replaced Beram Kayal, to hook in the winner with seconds left.
Fans were still taking their seats when Commons opened the scoring. Hooper's head-flick was controlled by Anthony Stokes, who turned and rolled the ball into the path of the midfielder and he drilled it low past Jamie Langfield and into the corner of the net.
As the game approached half-time, the powerful Magennis robbed Kelvin Wilson inside the Celtic box and with the Hoops defender looking for a foul, the Dons striker calmly rolled the ball back for Vernon to fire into the net from 12 yards.
The Celtic fans did not appear too concerned as the interval whistle sounded but they could not contain their anger when the visitors took the lead eight minutes after the break. In a swift Dons move former Rangers midfielder Gavin Rae took a Vernon pass and set up Magennis, who had time and space to fire the ball past goalkeeper Fraser Forster.
There was more woe for Celtic on the hour when a Johnny Hayes corner was cleared only to Rae - and he drove it back in on goal with Magennis getting a touch before it ended up behind Forster.
Lassad Nouiou came on for Stokes but it was Mulgrew who got Celtic back in the game in the 68th minute, following a Commons corner, when his deflected shot from inside the box spun past the helpless Langfield.
Three minutes from time Hooper drew Celtic level when he pounced after Ambrose's header from a Commons corner had been cleared off the line by Dons substitute Peter Pawlett, who had come on for Hayes.
Celtic pushed for the winner and in the last seconds of four minutes off added time, Samaras obliged from close range after Lassad had headed back a Commons free-kick.