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Celtic steal late win at home to Aberdeen

SoccerNews in Scottish Premier League 27 Sep 2008

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Celtic left it late to go top of the Scottish Premier League with a last-minute Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink goal giving them a dramatic 3-2 win against Aberdeen at Parkhead on Saturday.

With Rangers not playing Hibernian until Sunday the Hoops knew a win would put them temporarily on top of the SPL and put the pressure on their Old Firm rivals.

Things seemed to be going well when Vennegoor of Hesselink gave them a first-half lead.

But a second-half double from former Celtic youth player Charlie Mulgrew gave the Dons a deserved lead until substitute Scott McDonald equalised and Vennegoor of Hesselink bundled the ball home in the 90th minute.

The first chance of the game came after Shaun Maloney was fouled following a surging run down the left-wing. The former Aston Villa man took the resulting free-kick but his curling effort was straight at Jamie Langfield.

Vennegoor of Hesselink opened the scoring after 10 minutes. Samaras went on a mazy run through the Aberdeen defence and was surrounded by red jerseys but as Richard Foster and Mark Kerr collided with each other Scott Brown teed up the Dutchman who side-footed it past Langfield.

This sparked the Dons into life and Scott Severin was first to see a shot from the edge of the box go well wide of the post.

After 18 minutes Zander Diamond had a header from a corner cleared off the line by Spaniard Marc Crosas.

Lee Miller was presented with a good opportunity to level the scores when Severin played him into the box with a great pass but Artur Boruc rushed from his line and did enough to put the Scottish striker off.

Severin was forced off injured and substitute Mulgrew’s first task was to take a free-kick but his effort was straight at Boruc.

Vennegoor of Hesselink missed two headed chances to increase Celtic’s lead. In the 23rd minute he failed to get any direction on a Mark Wilson cross from the right and his effort from Lee Naylor’s left-wing pass was straight at the keeper.

Aberdeen finished the half strongly with Kerr and Stuart Duff both missing chances from the edge of the box in the final five minutes.

Aberdeen equalised with the first real chance of the second-half after 56 minutes. Darren Mackie played Jared Hodgkiss down the right-wing and his cross was flicked on by Miller to Mulgrew, who vollyed it past the helpless Boruc.

Mulgrew got his second to give the Dons the lead after 65 minutes. Miller won a free-kick 20 yards out following a push from Glen Loovens and Mulgrew curled his effort high past Boruc into goal.

Loovens had a chance to make amends minutes later but he headed his effort from a Shunsuke Nakamura free-kick into the ground and it bounced high over the bar.

Substitute McDonald equalised for Celtic in the 77th minute. Fellow sub Aiden McGeady fired in a cross from the right that evaded everyone but the Australian striker who headed in at the far post.

There were chances galore for both sides before Hesselink got his second when he capitalised on some horrendous Aberdeen defending to bundle the ball over the line. Mackie could have equalised moments later but his effort trundled wide of the post and Celtic hung on for the win.

At Fir Park, Motherwell came from behind to claim a 2-1 victory over St Mirren with second-half goals from John Sutton and Bob Malcolm cancelling out Billy Memhet’s opener.

Falkirk thrashed Hamilton 4-1 at home with goals from Steve Lovell, Burton O’Brien and a Scott Arfield double before Trent McClenahan scored a late consolation.

At the Caledonian Stadium, Inverness came from behind to beat Kilmarnock 3-1 with goals from Phil McGuire, Andy Barrowman and Ian Black sealing the win. Dundee United won 3-0 at home to Hearts.

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