Despite defeat the Aberdeen players were applauded off the park at the end – a mark of the display they put in.
Although they were edged out by the Premiership champions and leaders at Pittodrie, it was an enthralling contest where the Reds gave so much and were unfortunate not to come away with at least a point.
The Red Army recognised that and gave their favourites the ovation they deserved.
On reflection the Dons may rue poor defending. But they can be proud of the performance even if the result was not what they wanted.
The Hoops took the lead on six minutes. Former Aberdeen loanee Ryan Christie found a pocket of space in midfield, and his pass set Callum McGregor racing down the left.
McGregor was away from Lewis Ferguson and his low cross was only half-cleared by Dom Ball at the back post which allowed Scott SINCLAIR to tap home from six yards.
The loss of an early goal didn’t deter the Dons who kept trying to play on the front foot and use the pace of Niall McGinn and Connor McLennan on the flanks.
After 15 minutes Shinnie was pushed into midfield with Ball going to centre-back and Andy Considine moved to left-back.
Midway through the first period Aberdeen equalised and it came as a result of more success on the flanks.
Shay Logan lobbed a pass in behind Emilio Izaguirre which McGinn latched on to. After the Northern Irishman had crossed Izaguirre clattered him and ref Willie Collum rightly awarded a penalty.
Stevie MAY stepped up and confidently fired his right-footed effort down the middle past the diving Craig Gordon for 1-1.
Shortly after the half hour Dons keeper Joe Lewis made an important block with his right leg to deny Christie.
Scott McKenna’s loose pass had allowed Sinclair to slip in Christie on the left side of the area, but Lewis spread himself well to block.
The Hoops had more possession at the start of the second half, but didn’t manage to create any clear openings as the home defence held firm.
On the one occasion James Forrest did manage to escape the close attention of Considine on the right McKenna’s block diverted his low angled shot to safety.
In the 66th minute the Red Army were calling for another penalty when Scott Brown barged McLennan on the edge of the area. Collum waved away the appeals but it looked as though the Dons had a case.
On 73 minutes Lewis parried away Sinclair’s free-kick from 35 yards, but two minutes later Celtic took the lead and it was cruel.
Sub Odsonne Edouard showed good hold-up play in the centre of the park, played a pass out to the right which Forrest got to before Considine and when the winger crossed SINCLAIR got between Logan and Ball to tuck home from six yards.
But in the 83rd minute the Dons equalised. Shinnie lifted the ball over Mikael Lustig and went down under pressure from the Swede. With May off COSGROVE stepped up and fired the spot kick into the top right corner with his right foot.
Unfortunately parity only lasted until the 86th minute when Forrest slipped a ball into the box, McKenna cut out the pass on the slide, but the ball broke for EDOUARD to lift it into the top right corner from 10 yards.
Two minutes later Edouard bundled past Logan and Ball on the left and his cutback was tapped home by SINCLAIR for his hat-trick.
But Aberdeen weren’t finished and in the 90th minute FERGUSON volleyed home McLennan’s corner from the left from 10 yards.
Despite having injury- time pressure the Dons couldn’t salvage a point.