Scott Sinclair’s back-heel puts Celtic back on winning track
Substitute’s second-half goal seals win over Aberdeen at Celtic Park
Celtic’s Scott Sinclair back-heels home their goal during the Scottish Premiership match at Celtic Park. Photograph: Jeff Holmes/PA Wire
Celtic 1 Aberdeen 0
Scott Sinclair’s inventive finish got Celtic back to winning ways in the Scottish Premiership.
Substitute Sinclair back-heeled home from six yards in the 63rd minute to earn the champions a 1-0 victory over Aberdeen at Celtic Park.
The winger – who was on for the injured Odsonne Edouard – had only scored twice in his previous 31 appearances. But his moment of magic proved enough to get Celtic back on track in the title race after taking one point from their previous two games, against St Mirren and Kilmarnock.
With 11 goals between them in the first six matches of the season, the top two teams from the past four seasons were never likely to produce a high-scoring encounter but the Dons came close on several occasions to adding to their five-goal tally.
But Aberdeen began posing a threat. Niall McGinn’s first-time volley from 20 yards whistled just past following Gary Mackay-Steven’s cross and the Northern Ireland international’s delivery looked set to fall perfectly for James Wilson. But the striker could not get hold of his header.
Edouard swerved a shot against the post more than 20 yards at the other end and Dedryck Boyata headed just over from Lustig’s cross.
The main talking point of the half came when Scott McKenna put in a high challenge on Edouard as the Frenchman ran into the box. The Aberdeen defender appeared to catch the forward on the leg but referee Bobby Madden waved play on. Edouard came back on after treatment but limped about until he was replaced by Sinclair in the 43rd minute.
Celtic might have been behind by then but Gordon pulled off an excellent stop from Mackay-Steven from eight yards after the former Celtic winger weaved his way past several home players.
Griffiths then rescued his side by clearing Wilson’s header off the line following a corner.
Joe Lewis made a save early in the second half but Callum McGregor’s long-range strike appeared to be going wide, and Aberdeen soon threatened again following good skill by Stevie May. Gordon was equal to Wilson’s curling effort.
Celtic brought on Tom Rogic in search of some much-needed inspiration but it soon came from Sinclair. Shay Logan appeared to have averted the danger from Forrest’s cross as he challenged Griffiths but Sinclair nipped in and back-heeled the ball past Lewis from six yards with his back to goal.
Griffiths had a free-kick saved and Aberdeen struggled to create clear-cut chances after losing Wilson to injury moments before the goal. But Celtic had one late scare when Michael Devlin hooked Mackay-Steven’s free-kick just wide.
Griffiths missed a glorious chance deep into stoppage-time after appearing to haul back Devlin to reach a long ball.