Celtic stunned by Dons
Alexander Diamond scored twice in three minutes as Aberdeen stunned Scottish Premier League leaders and defending champions Celtic with a 4-2 win at Pittodrie on Sunday.
Defeat left the Hoops just two points in front of Glasgow rivals Rangers at the top of the table and catapulted Aberdeen, Gordon Strachan's former club into third place. Aberdeen remained third after Dundee United missed the chance to reclaim that position later Sunday when they were thrashed 4-0 at their Tannadice home by Motherwell.
"The consolation is my team played well, made many chances, showed great determination and character," Strachan told BBC Scotland. "The thing that let us down was free-kicks. Mark Brown has not had a save to make in free play. We need to analyse that and see if there is a common denominator and eradicate that. It was four free-kicks, the rest of the game we were terrific." Strachan added: "If we play like that for the rest of the season I'll be happy; if we defend like that at set-plays I'll be a worried man."
For Aberdeen, it was a first home win over Celtic since 2001 and Dons boss Jimmy Calderwood admitted: "It's been a long time coming and personally I have not beaten them here. It's nice to put that one to bed."
Meanwhile, Diamond promised the Dons would be equally tough opponents for Rangers. "We have set our standards. There is no point beating the champions and rolling over next week," he said. Gary McDonald put Aberdeen in front with a 24th minute header only for Scott Brown to draw Celtic level in under a minute.
In an action-packed contest, Stuart Duff's half-volley restored the Dons' lead only for Scott McDonald to draw Celtic level again with a header after half-time. But Diamond, a defender, ensured it was Aberdeen who came out on top by scoring from close range in the 75th and 78th minutes. Both his goals came about from curling free-kicks to the far post taken by Charlie Mulgrew.
First, the centre-back dived to head home with the Celtic defence appealing believing a whistle had gone for a free-kick in their favour because of a foul. "Everybody heard the whistle. Everybody thought the goal was disallowed," Strachan said.
And Calderwood added: "I thought the referee had chalked it off because I heard a whistle go. I thought something must have happened but seemingly the referee was going to award us a penalty but his linesman overruled him and said it was a goal." Diamond then stretched out a leg to force home after Mark Brown had got a hand to the ball.