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CELTIC ON RED ALERT

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CELTIC face Aberdeen this evening protecting their remarkable unbeaten 60-game domestic run.

But the Hoops will be well aware Pittodrie is a dangerous venue where records have been shattered in the recent past – and Jonny Hayes played a key role in two of them!

Neil Lennon took his Parkhead team to the Granite City on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 protecting a 26-match sequence without a league reverse.

Goalkeeper Fraser Forster had overtaken Dons legend Bobby Clark’s run of shut-outs the previous Saturday as Celtic beat Hearts 2-0 at Tynecastle.

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That moved him to 1,215 minutes without conceding a goal – beating the previous best of 1.155 set by the former Scotland international in 1970/71.

Forster had Manchester United’s Edwin van der Sar’s UK 2009 record of 1,311 minutes in his sights as he prepared for Aberdeen.

The Glasgow giants hadn’t lost at Pittodrie for six years although they had been knocked out of the Scottish Cup by Derek McInnes’ team at Parkhead just a fortnight earlier.

England international Forster made it to 1,256 minutes without retrieving the ball from his net – then he had to perform the feat twice in the space of five minutes.

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Celtic were already toiling after the 11th-minuted red card for Virgil van Dijk – sent packing by Craig Thomson after a late challenge on Peter Pawlett – but looked like holding out until the interval.

However, Hayes, who joined his boyhood idols in the summer, lashed an unstoppable long-range drive into the roof of the net in the 41st minute to smash Forster’s sequence.

And, in first-half stoppage time, Adam Rooney headed in number two to push the hosts towards three points.

Substitute James Forrest, on for Kris Commons, pulled one back in the 62nd minute, but the 10-man Celts couldn’t rescue a point.

The goalscorer is one of only four of the 18 Hoops players stripped for action that eventful evening still at the champions along with Scott Brown, Nir Bitton and Leigh Griffiths.

A crowd of 16,634 were entertained at a gusty Pittodrie with Lennon’s men still top of the league on 72 points – 21 ahead of second-placed Dons.

The teams were:

ABERDEEN: Langfield; Logan (sub: Anderson 83), Tate (sub: Shaughnessy 83), Reynolds, Considine; McGinn, Flood,Robson, Hayes; Pawlett (sub: Vernon 92) and Rooney. Unused subs: Weaver, Zola, Smith, Low.

CELTIC: Forster; Matthews, Ambrose, Van Dijk, Izaguirre (sub: Balde 89); Brown, Bitton, Commons (sub: Forrest 46), Mulgrew; Stokes and Griffiths (sub: Samaras 77). Unused subs: Zaluska, Boerrigter, Pukki, Fisher.

Incidentally, have you seen the Celtic players pay tribute to the greatest fans in the world yet?

Meanwhile there’s a new CQN Podcast out where we look at how Celtic reached the final in the 4-2 win over Hibs.

Kevin Graham hosts our match day podcast from Hampden on Saturday and this features some of FIFA’s Best Supporters in the World.

This week’s Matchday Special saw Brendan Rodgers’ side carry a 59-match undefeated domestic run into the League Cup semi final against Neil Lennon’s Hibs.

Kevin provides pre and post-match discussion as well as in-match analysis in what will be a regular Celtic State of Mind feature.

JUST OUT! MATCH DAY SPECIAL CQN PODCAST FROM HAMPDEN, FEATURING SOME OF FIFA’S BEST FANS IN THE WORLD…

ORDER Charlie Gallagher? What a Player! and we’ll send you a copy of The Winds of Change for FREE only at www.cqnbookstore.com

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