Celtic made hard work of it but eventually netted twice in the final quarter of the game to defeat Aberdeen 2-0 and temporarily jump to the top of the SPL.
Lassad Nouioui opened the scoring when he stroked into an empty net in the 73rd minute, having only come on for Kris Commons four minutes earlier.
Charlie Mulgrew added a second against his former club three minutes later, taking Celtic top albeit with Hibs yet to play later on Saturday afternoon.
The home support were boosted by teenage winger Ryan Fraser's swift recovery from an ankle knock sustained in their 4-1 win over St Mirren last week, while Celtic, who had disappointingly drawn with St Johnstone, handed Tony Watt a start.
As early as the second minute, Josh Magennis' made a strong run only to fire a left-footed shot into the side netting. Dons top scorer Niall McGinn then fashioned an opening with neat play on the edge of the area, but Fraser Forster was able to gather comfortably.
The Hoops' first real chance came on the quarter-hour when former Don Mulgrew's corner was headed over by Victor Wanyama. Two minutes later the strong running of Tony Watt saw him get by Mark Reynolds on the right before crossing for Georgios Samaras, but the Greek striker's clever dink deflected away for a corner.
Celtic came closest yet as Commons retrieved a half-cleared Mulgrew corner on the left and swung a dangerous cross to the far post, where Watt headed off the base of the post. The home side had some pressure early in the second half, culminating in a Magennis throw being headed narrowly over by Russell Anderson.
Celtic were presented with a fine opportunity when Andrew Considine brought down Commons 22 yards out. Mulgrew took the free-kick but looped his effort high and wide of the far post.
The Dons, however, had their best chance after 68 minutes as McGinn cut the ball back for Hayes, and the Irishman set himself before firing low into the side netting. But the deadlock was finally broken when Wanyama crashed a 25-yard shot off Jamie Langfield's left-hand post, and all newcomer Nouioui had to do was roll the ball home.
Boosted by their goal, Celtic added a second just three minutes later. Samaras crossed from the left and, at the back post, Mulgrew acrobatically volleyed home left-footed. The visitors had the ball in the net again when Wanyama headed home at the back post, but the flag had already been raised for offside against the Celtic man.
- Sports & Recreation
- Charlie Mulgrew
- Kris Commons