Celtic 1-0 Aberdeen: Langfield error hands Hoops an opening day victory

The Parkhead side get off to the perfect start as a mistake by the Dons keeper allowed them to begin the defence of their league title with a narrow home win
Celtic got their Scottish Premier League campaign off to a winning start after a blunder from Aberdeen keeper Jamie Langfield handed the Parkhead side all three points as he failed to deal with a Kris Commons strike.

The Scottish champions were going into their first season without arch rivals Rangers, but never looked convincing against the Pittodrie outfit.

Hoops legend Sean Fallon unfurled the SPL flag before the game, but in the first half the home side failed to excite the Celtic faithful, as Aberdeen snuffed out their early attacks and dampened the party mood.

The first real chance came a quarter of an hour in as Joe Ledley was found on the left-hand side by Anthony Stokes, but unfortunately for the Welsh midfielder, his low strike was blocked by Dons goalkeeper Jamie Langfield.

Neil Lennon’s side continued to control the possession, without being able to find a way past a stubborn Aberdeen defence, who limited them to long-range efforts, with Commons seeing an opportunity fly wide, then Georgios Samaras suffered the same fate with an effort from the left wing.

Aberdeen’s only chances came from counterattacking broken down Celtic moves and the champions were lucky not to find themselves behind, as they broke with Ryan Jack finding Niall McGinn, but before the former Hoops winger could finish, Victor Wanyama stepped in to clear the ball for a corner.

Just before the half-time break, once again it was Commons who had a chance to put the Glasgow side ahead, as he received the ball inside the box from Samaras, but the midfielder saw his strike blocked away from danger by Dons skipper Russell Anderson, as Craig Brown’s men went into the interval level.

The visitors had the first opportunity of the second period, as Johnny Hayes swung in a free-kick, which the Celtic defence failed to properly deal with and eventually deflected off Thomas Rogne for a corner, which ended up at the feet of Scott Vernon, who put his strike into the stand behind the goal.

Hoops boss Lennon decided to change the shape of his side, deploying centre-half Kelvin Wilson as part of a back three, in place of Samaras, as they looked to push forward in search of the elusive goal that would get their season off to a perfect start.

And they nearly achieved that just after the hour mark, as Commons was once again the chief tormentor, getting the ball on the right wing after a pass from Wanyama and unleashing a strike that Langfield did well to get down to in order to save.

The breakthrough finally came for the Hoops with just over 10 minutes left as Commons played a short corner on the right wing and unleashed a strike which Langfield looked to have got comfortably, but the ball squeezed under the Aberdeen stopper and into the net.

The Parkhead side controlled the reminder of the game as they head for Helsinki and their Champions League second leg qualifier against HJK on Wednesday.