Aberdeen 1 Celtic 1

Last updated : 02 January 2003 By Footymad Previewer

In a pulsating encounter at Pittodrie it was honours even as the home side pushed the defending champions Celtic all the way in an entertaining 1-1 draw.

The Dons appeared to have got over their recent poor form as they chased and harried the visitors throughout the game.

In the second minute Kevin Rutkiewicz and Kevin McNaughton combined well for the latter to cross and find Darren Mackie with a diving header. However, Mackie was unable to get enough power on the ball and the chance was lost.

In the next minute James McAllister 's cross found the head of Laurent D'Jaffo, but under pressure from Johan Mjallby, he failed to trouble Magnus Hedman.

Jackie McNamara's driving run took him inside the home penalty box where only a timely interception by Phil McGuire saved the day for the Dons.

Indecision between Joos Valgaeren and Bobo Balde almost presented Mackie with a chance in the 20th minute as he raced on to a Derek Young throughball, but the central defender recovered and ushered the ball clear at the expense of a corner.

From the resulting corner kick Russell Anderson had time inside the area before his fierce shot was deflected over the bar by Mjallby.

At the other end Henrik Larsson thought he had opened the scoring when he slotted home John Hartson's throughball, only for the goal to be disallowed for offside.

A forceful run and shot by Chris Clark saw him break through two Celtic challenges before his effort was easily collected by Hedman.

After surviving the early home pressure Celtic took the lead in the 29th minute when Larsson reacted quickest to Chris Sutton's flick, knocking the ball over the advancing David Preece before nodding home from three yards out.

In the 33rd minute McAllister did well to beat Mjallby wide on the left before driving in his cross that saw McNaughton fire straight at the relieved Hedman.

Larsson had failed to recover form the head injury he sustained when scoring his goal and was replaced by David Fernandez.

Aberdeen started the second half well and Anderson rose majestically above the Celtic rearguard to bullet a header home from McAllister's corner.

In the 65th minute McNaughton raced on to a D'Jaffo head flick only to fire well over the bar from 14 yards out when a little more composure was required.

It was the defending champions who were on the back foot as the home side pressed forward in search of the winning goal.

Chances were created at both ends in the final stages but Mackie could not direct his effort on target.

At the other end Harston snatched his effort from a Sutton knock down high over the bar which just about summed up Celtic's poor afternoon.