Celtic reeled off a 10th straight win in opposition to Aberdeen – a ninth beneath Brendan Rodgers – to revive their 9-level lead within the Premiership.
Both sides missed possibilities earlier than Moussa Dembele headed in James Forrest’s cross on the again submit for the opener.
Celtic had Mikael Lustig despatched off for a second yellow card 15 minutes from time however Kieran Tierney slammed in a second.
The Dons’ frustration boiled over when debutant substitute Sam Cosgrove was despatched off for a lunge at Scott Brown.
It left Aberdeen, runners-up for the previous three seasons, 12 factors adrift of the champions.
Celtic transfer again 9 factors away from Rangers, who they face at Ibrox in a fortnight, after a midweek Premiership sport in opposition to Dundee and subsequent Saturday’s Scottish Cup quarter-last in opposition to Greenock Morton.
The champions might not have too many weaknesses however, as they confirmed in defeat in opposition to Zenit St Petersburg within the Europea League on Thursday, they’re removed from convincing at defending set items at instances.
That was actually the case once more at Pittodrie, however Aberdeen failed to use the early possibilities that got here their approach from a Kenny McLean free-kick, and Kari Arnason’s lengthy throw.
Stevie May, most well-liked from the beginning rather than high scorer Adam Rooney, was inches away from changing the primary whereas Anthony O’Connor did not get sufficient energy on the ball when making an attempt to make the most of the second.
At the opposite finish, Scott Sinclair’s nook clipped the highest of the crossbar whereas Dons goalkeeper Freddie Woodman, on mortgage from Newcastle, bought the possibility to point out why he is so extremely rated halfway by means of the half.
The teenager, who received the Under-20 World Cup with England final summer season, made necessary blocks to disclaim Sinclair and Dembele in fast succession.
He was additionally fast to identify the hazard as Tom Rogic raced on to a by means of-ball, Woodman sprinting to the sting of his field to clear the midfielder’s header.
He did take pleasure in a slice of luck after 35 minutes when Olivier Ntcham’s sweetly-struck shot fron the sting of the D smacked again off the submit and straight into the grateful arms of the Aberdeen goalkeeper.
There was no let-off two minutes later although when Forrest tormented Andrew Considine earlier than hoisting the right cross to the again submit the place Dembele had stolen a yard on Arnason to move house the opener.
It’s honest to say Celtic weren’t at their fluent finest, however nonetheless had the contact of high quality wanted to get a victory which once more renders discuss of a real title race redundant.
It proved to be way more frenetic than anybody may have anticipated in an explosive second half that noticed each side end the match with 10 males.
Lustig had been strolling a nice line after being booked for a crude foul on former Celtic staff-mate Gary Mackay-Steven and he acquired a second yellow card after one other lunge on the identical participant with 15 minutes left.
Aberdeen have been way more aggressive within the second half as they pushed a better line and snapped into tackles, however Cosgrove took it too far on what was a disastrous debut for the striker signed final month from Carlisle United.
He was solely on the sphere for eight minutes earlier than receiving a straight purple card for chopping down Scott Brown.
But by then Tierney, with a superb help from Dembele, had produced one other beautiful piece of the standard the in the end spilt the groups.
The Frenchman ran from simply inside his personal half because the Dons have been caught on the counter-assault, then confirmed the poise to roll the ball into the trail of Tierney who lashed an unstoppable angled drive past Woodman.
Aberdeen did have possibilities to degree earlier than that – McLean, Niall McGinn and O’Connor all missed in a single goalmouth scramble – however they lacked composure in entrance of purpose.
The painful reality for his or her supporters is that they have now misplaced all six crunch matches in opposition to the Old Firm this season.