Stokes keeps up hot streak as Hoops sink 10-man Dons
Published 02/02/2011 | 05:00
Aberdeen must be sick of the sight of Celtic after suffering a third defeat to the Hoops in just 11 days at Pittodrie last night.
Celtic were not at their best, but did enough to extend their unbeaten run to 14 matches and stretch their lead at the top of the Scottish Premier League to eight points -- although title rivals Rangers have three games in hand. The Gers host Hearts tonight.
The Dons were in decent form, having won five and drawn one of their last six games against 'other' opponents, but there was an air of inevitability about this result from as early as the second minute, when the hosts had Andrew Considine sent off for a foul on Scott Brown in the box.
Anthony Stokes' penalty was saved by Jamie Langfield, but the Dublin-born forward responded in a positive manner, setting up strike partner Gary Hooper to open the scoring, and adding the third goal to seal the points late on.
Stokes has now bagged eight goals in his last six games.
In the 12th minute, he fed a delightful return ball back into the path of strike partner Hooper, who clipped a cool finish past Langfield.
Despite their numerical disadvantage, the Dons could have levelled soon after, with Chris Maguire drawing a fine save from Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster.
However, Kris Commons was causing all sorts of problems on his first league appearance for Celtic. The winger drew a fine save from Langfield soon after before Robert Milsom cleared Hooper's close-range effort off the line as the Celtic onslaught continued.
Biram Kayal was inches away when his powerful drive smashed off the post to safety.
However, the Dons had chances to equalise, with Nick Blackman firing just wide and Forster making a smart save to deny Chris Maguire.
After the break, Celtic got back on top, but were unable to make their possession count. However, they finally doubled the lead when defender Mark Wilson headed in Commons' centre.
And Stokes made sure of the result with a smart finish after neat interplay with Hooper.