Boss Stephen Glass was “unbelievably proud” of his Aberdeen squad for coming so close to defeating Celtic.
Glass and his Reds were left heartbroken by a last-gasp Leigh Griffiths equaliser deep into injury time to secure a 1-1 draw.
The Reds were on course for a much-needed win in the battle to overhaul Hibernian in third spot.
The devastating late goal delivered a hammer blow to hopes of securing third.
Glass hailed the effort of his squad in his first Premiership match in the dugout for the Dons.
He said: “I am unbelievably proud of the effort of the players.
“I am disappointed that we lost a late goal but they were fantastic against a good Celtic team who moved the ball really well and gave us a few problems, but I think we were ready for it and ready to break at speed.
“They gave their all – attacking-wise, we had opportunities.
“They were determined to stick to their task, they were unfortunate.”
Celtic could have had two players sent off as Callum McGregor pulled back Jonny Hayes as last man when he broke in on goal.
David Turnbull also kicked out at Dylan McGeouch off the ball. Turnbull was booked and referee Collum did not even award a free-kick for the foul on Hayes.
Glass refused to criticise the referee, but did insist some decisions could have been better handled.
He said: “There were a couple of situations there that anyone who was watching the game could see could have been handled differently.
“McGregor did not touch the ball. His body hits him and you can see his arm coming across the front of Jonny.
“He is not going to dive.
“Maybe players need to be a bit more streetwise if you like, sell things a bit more, but we don’t want them to have to do that –we expect things to get handled properly.
“But I am not about to start criticising referees.”
Glass hopes Ross McCrorie will be fit for Scottish Cup tie
Aberdeen suffered an injury blow early in the first half when Ross McCrorie was forced off with an ankle injury.
Glass hopes the Scotland U21 captain will be fit to face Dundee United in the Scottish Cup quarter final on Sunday.
He said: “He took a sore one on his ankle and Edouard landed on him after a collision.
“It was not intentional, but the weight of the striker fell on Ross – hopefully he will be okay for the weekend.”
Aberdeen were heading to a vital three points courtesy of a first-half goal from Lewis Ferguson.
Midfielder Ferguson also hit the post and had three further efforts saved by keeper Scott Bain.
Glass said: “Lewis had a chance in the first half and the keeper made a good save and he hit the post in the second half.
“But Lewis is getting himself in those positions. We had a number of opportunities. I know we were limited possession-wise, but we had a real threat when we broke.
“We looked really organised defensively and made it very difficult for a very good Celtic team at the top end of the pitch to score.”
Celtic interim boss John Kennedy bemoaned his side’s profligacy.
He said: “It was pleasing to get the goal in the end after creating numerous chances.
“The Aberdeen goal was disappointing from our perspective.
“We had big chances to get straight back in the game but didn’t take them.
“They weren’t just half-chances, they were big moments.
“That is something we need to fix as we should have scored more goals.”