Celtic get the perfect send-off
Celtic’s Kris Commons is surrounded by his teamates after scoring from a penalty. Photograph: Chris Clark/PA Wire
A Kris Commons penalty set Celtic on their way to a happy journey to Kazakhstan as Jamie Langfield’s sending off sparked the end of Aberdeen’s unbeaten start to the season.
Commons converted on the stroke of half-time after the home goalkeeper had been dismissed for fouling Georgios Samaras. The incident turned a finely poised contest in Celtic’s favour although they had to wait until the 87th minute to put the game beyond the Derek McInnes’s team when James Forrest broke clear to score.
The three points at a Pittodrie packed with fans and early-season optimism gave the Celtic manager, Neil Lennon, the boost he wanted hours before their flight from Aberdeen airport to the former Soviet state for the Champions League qualifier against Shakhter Karagandy tomorrow.
Celtic, who were still without Derk Boerrigter and started with Forrest on the bench, lacked natural width and initially struggled to break the home side down. With half-time approaching, the key moment came when Charlie Mulgrew cut open the Aberdeen 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.
Pointed to the spot
The referee, Calum Murray, pointed to the penalty spot and sent off Langfield. Commons rifled his spot-kick just under the dive of the substitute goalkeeper, Nicky Weaver.
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. With Aberdeen pushing men up, Forrest ran on to Ledley’s first-time pass and saw his shot hit the net from a tight angle.