Being champions isn’t always about winning pretty and playing attractive free-flowing football. Sometimes you have to dig deep and grind out a result, even if it’s not completely deserved.
Should 9-in-a-row become the reality we all suspect it will, today’s victory at a blustery Pittodrie will go down as one of those ‘wins that makes champions’.
On the back of some exciting displays since the winter break, Aberdeen away in the middle of a storm was always going to require a different type of performance from Celtic. However, despite an excellent early goal from McGregor, Celtic struggled to adapt their passing game to the conditions.
The direct approach adopted for most of the game nullified Celtic’s creative talent and played into Aberdeen’s hands who intensified their regular style of missing out the midfield, launching long balls at every opportunity.
On the rare occasions Celtic got the better of the conditions and kept the ball on the ground, the likes of Edouard, McGregor, Forrest and Ntcham proved their class, carving out opportunities against a stubborn home defence.
With the game drifting towards a 1-1 draw, the aforementioned Edouard, McGregor, and Forrest combined to set up Kris Ajer whose classy finish secured a precious and hard fought three points. It was a moment of rare quality in an otherwise stuffy second-half that exemplifies the never-say-die spirit of the side.
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As the second half wore on, I made myself comfortable with the draw. I would have slept easy with a draw. We deserved at least a draw for effort. For not letting a game of chance and second balls run away from us. We didn’t click, never looked like clicking but we hung in there.
We provided the quality and Hayes hit the goalie. We provided the quality and our centre-back come right-back supplied the finish. Our better players won the game.
Lennon rushed to the away support. Jubilant but pointing to the players. Telling the away support to show appreciation of the players. Players who have been magnificent since we have returned but will have off days like today.
Sometimes it’s about finding a way. Sometimes it’s about taking one on the chin. Sometimes you get away with it. Hard work today got us that result. Flexibility got that result. Being the best team in Scotland got that result.Watch Kevin McKenna with A Celtic State of Mind