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Jota secures long-awaited away win for Celtic

Aberdeen v Celtic – cinch Premiership – Pittodrie Stadium
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

A late winner from Jota earned Celtic their first away victory in Scotland since Valentine’s Day and left Aberdeen without a win in nine matches.

Kyogo Furuhashi headed Celtic into a lead on the road for the first time in Scotland since that victory over St Johnstone in February but Aberdeen fought back strongly after the break.

Lewis Ferguson headed an equaliser and former Celtic pair Scott Brown and Jonny Hayes both forced saves before Jota netted following a good move in the 84th minute with the visitors’ only real chance of the half.

The 2-1 triumph ended a run of nine domestic away games without victory for the Hoops and gave their cinch Premiership campaign a much-needed shot in the arm.

Aberdeen boss Stephen Glass dropped goalkeeper Joe Lewis in a bid to turn around their form but they go into the international break in ninth place.

Celtic went into the game level on points with St Mirren and with no prospect of moving above sixth place.

There was one change from Ange Postecoglou as Nir Bitton came into the base of midfield and Callum McGregor lined up on the left with Tom Rogic benched.

Postecoglou stuck firmly to his directions for his team to play the ball out from the back and Aberdeen got a bit of early encouragement from pressing high up, although subsequent efforts from Ferguson and Austin Samuels were harmless.

Bitton headed David Turnbull’s corner wide from six yards before the latter set up the opener.

Turnbull got the ball back from his quickly-taken throw on the right wing, and whipped in a delivery towards the back post. Furuhashi had engineered space from David Bates and nodded home from close range.

It was the eighth game running that Aberdeen had conceded the opening goal.

Celtic took confidence and they had the ball in the net following a flowing move involving eight players, but Jota was penalised for a push on Calvin Ramsay as he headed home.

The Dons were slow to respond apart from hopeful penalty appeals when Christian Ramirez claimed he had been pulled by Cameron Carter-Vickers after Hayes curled in a cross.

Jota hit the bar from 25 yards before the Dons had a couple of chances thanks to Ramirez twice peeling off to the back post to meet corners from Ramsay.

Joe Hart touched the American’s volley on to the bar from the first corner and a spell of pressure followed the second one only for Ferguson to shoot wide.

Celtic almost doubled their lead in the final second of the half when Carl Starfelt glanced Turnbull’s corner just beyond the far post.

Glass switched Samuels to the right wing at the start of the second half and the Wolves loan player shot just over before winning the corner that led to the 56th-minute equaliser.

Ferguson beat Bitton to Ramsay’s delivery and his header looped over Adam Montgomery on the near post.

The Dons were on top and Hart beat away Brown’s header following another Ramsay corner before dealing with a drive from Hayes at the second attempt.

Celtic were struggling for inspiration until Montgomery ran on to substitute Rogic’s reverse pass and squared for Jota to knock home.