Celtic 1-0 Aberdeen

By Andy CampbellBBC Sport Scotland

A howler from Jamie Langfield allowed Celtic to open the defence of their Scottish Premier League title with victory against Aberdeen.

The well organised Dons limited Celtic to few chances in each half but the visitors rarely threatened themselves.

Kris Commons was the hosts' most prominent threat, forcing two solid saves from Langfield.

But the goalkeeper then let Commons' trundling shot slip past him and Aberdeen could not recover.

Celtic unfurl the Scottish Premier League championship flag
Celtic marked last season's title win before kick-off

Celtic now turn their attention to Wednesday's Champions League qualifying return leg against HJK Helsinki, who trail 2-1 in the tie.

The unfurling of the league championship flag preceded the start of the match and both sides took their time to get into full stride after the action had got underway.

Georgios Samaras, captaining Celtic in the absence of Scott Brown and usual deputy Charlie Mulgrew, required treatment and a change of shirt after Ryan Jack's elevated foot gave the Greek a cut lip.

The first chance of any note came when Commons' fierce drive was beaten away by Langfield.

Samaras began to find some space cutting in from the left and his curling shot swept wide of target.

Experienced Dons duo Gavin Rae and Russell Anderson were marshalling central areas and frustrating the hosts but Craig Brown's side did not make the most of their possession in attacking areas.

Last term's SPL top scorer Gary Hooper lifted a shot over Langfield's goal and Commons' shot was blocked by Andrew Considine as the impasse continued until half-time.

Aberdeen posed more of a threat just after the break with Celtic struggling to deal with debutant Jonny Hayes' deliveries.

The former Inverness winger's free-kick deflected awkwardly out for a corner and Hayes' next inswinger was palmed away by Fraser Forster to Scott Vernon, who could not direct his shot on target.

Victor Wanyama was pushed up into Celtic's midfield after Samaras was replaced by Kelvin Wilson and the Kenyan flashed a volley well wide as the home crowd's frustration became all the more audible.

Commons was more accurate with his next shot, Langfield diving low to his left to punch away another powerful strike.

For all of Aberdeen's endeavour, Vernon's increasing isolation up front made breakaways difficult.

Celtic boss Neil Lennon looked for fresh impetus and sent on Paddy McCourt and Daryl Murphy for Beram Kayal and Anthony Stokes.

But it was a mistake that gave Celtic their breakthrough after Commons had played a corner short to Adam Matthews.

The winger received Matthews' return pass and fired in a low shot that should have been comfortably saved by Langfield but the keeper was slow to react and soon looked distraught as Celtic celebrated.

However, Aberdeen can take heart from their stubborn performance, which served to remind title favourites Celtic this season may not be as straight-forward as many have predicted.

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