Celtic stay on course

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The Independent Online
Aberdeen 1 Celtic 2

Celtic produced a courageous fightback at Pittodrie to cut the gap on the Scottish Premier Division leaders, Rangers, to five points. Two goals in five minutes from John Collins and Pierre Van Hooijdonk overturned Aberdeen's early lead provided by Billy Dodds.

The game was marred by an incident in the second half when the referee, Michael McCurry, was hit by a missile thrown from the crowd. McCurry needed treatment from the Celtic doctor for a cut to the back of his head.

Aberdeen enjoyed a second-minute chance when Stephen Glass swept in a dangerous cross from the left, but Joe Miller could not beat Gordon Marshall. Celtic responded by forcing three corners and their pressure culminated in a superb ninth-minute opening for Phil O'Donnell, whose shot beat Michael Watt but crashed back off the post.

However, Aberdeen took the lead in the 18th minute through Dodds. Marshall failed to claim the ball from a corner, and Dodds' downward header went in at the far post.

Celtic equalised five minutes after the break when Aberdeen failed to check O'Donnell's surge and his cutback found Collins unmarked. Celtic then made it 2-1 when Van Hooijdonk found the home defence in disarray and scored his seventh goal in seven games and his 16th of the season.

Goals: Dodds (18) 1-0; Collins (50) 1-1; Van Hooijdonk (55) 1- 2.

Aberdeen: Watt; McKimmie, Glass, Grant, Inglis, Smith, Miller (Shearer, 53), Windass, Bernard, Dodds, Jess. Substitutes not used: Robertson, Snelders (gk).

Celtic: Marshall; Boyd, McKinlay, Grant, Hughes, O'Donnell, Donnelly, McStay, Van Hooijdonk, Thom (Walker, 89), Collins. Substitutes not used: Gray, McLaughlin.

Referee: M McCurry (Glasgow).

Bookings: Aberdeen Windass, Shearer. Celtic McKinlay.

Attendance: 17,100.

Man of the match: Van Hooijdonk.