Unfortunately for the Dons fans that has become a regular occurrence of late. It’s difficult to get away from the growing public consensus that the Dons are just flat track bullies.

Yes they can take care of the lesser teams in the league no problem but then in the big head to head games against their closest challengers they come up way short.

Just six points have been garnered from a possible 27 against Celtic, Rangers and Hibs this season.

That is at best a poor record. Celtic have now beaten Aberdeen ten times on the bounce and right from the kick off yesterday you could see why they have.

After a demoralising and bitterly disappointing performance on Thursday by Celtic in Europe, a lot of people would have fancied Aberdeen to finally break their own horrendous streak against the champions.

Arriving back in the early hours of Friday morning after a long flight from Russia, Celtic looked ripe for the picking.

I fully expected Aberdeen to come flying out the traps straight from kick off and to get after those weary Celtic legs.

To do exactly what Hearts managed to do to end Celtic’s long unbeaten league streak in emphatic fashion at Tynecastle. Engage Celtic high and press them into mistakes on a bobbly pitch.

That pitch would have played into that game plan perfectly. Guys like McGinn,May and Mackay-Steven have the energy to do that. To not give Celtic any time on the ball to pick passes and to settle into the game.

Play at a high tempo and with energy. Expose the soft centre that Celtic have at the back. Put pressure on a goalkeeper who has looked shorn of any sort of confidence since the day he arrived at Celtic.

Crosses into the box on top of him. Shots on goal. Test him early.

It takes bravery from the players and the manager to go and play the way that Craig Levein did. But for me it’s the best way to get after and ultimately turn over Celtic.

Especially when they are just off a plane from Russia.

What did Aberdeen actually do? The complete opposite. They in my opinion paid Celtic far too much respect on the day.

Aberdeen sat off and gave the Celtic players time and space to knock the ball about. They were able to get the legs going again and build into the game under no pressure whatsoever.

Judging by the moans and groans of the Aberdeen support I think they also expected their team to come out and go for Celtic’s throats straight from the get go.

Yes it was all in front of the Dons defence and not in dangerous areas but eventually when you play so conservatively against Celtic they will open you up or produce a bit of magic like James Forrest’s sensational cross for the winning goal from Dembele.

It’s not as if Aberdeen didn’t have the players to hurt Celtic. Gary Mackay-Steven and Niall McGinn are two wonderfully gifted wide men.

But they sat so deep for 70 minutes that they couldn’t cause Celtic problems at the business end of the pitch.

Yes, unbelievably it took fully 70 minutes for Aberdeen to force a save from Dorus De Vries. 70 minutes to get a shot on target at home. Guess what happened after that? The fans got behind them and they started to have a go at Celtic.

They could have salvaged something out the game. But it was far too late.

That I think summed up the lack of belief and ambition that the Don’s had in this game. Aberdeen didn’t believe they could turn over Celtic. They were beat in the tunnel for me.

Questions will again be asked of Derek McInnes tactically in a big game.

Until Aberdeen start beating the teams around about them, those questions will remain unanswered.

Neil Lennon will be enjoying a seat in the stand very shortly after his astonishing outburst at referee Kevin Clancy during and after his sides 2-2 draw down at Kilmarnock.

There is no excuse for the language he used towards the referee and some of his cutting comments after the game. He will be rightly punished.

But what I would say is that some of the refereeing in this country has been embarrassing of late and managers who are under huge pressure to win games will rightly be fuming when penalty decisions like yesterday go against them.

Maybe if referee’s where allowed to explained big decisions in the cold light of day managers wouldn’t explode like Neil Lennon?

HeraldScotland | Sport

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