BRENDAN RODGERS takes his squad to Pittodrie today for the High Noon shoot-out – and the returning Celtic boss is unlikely to have forgotten his last encounter with Aberdeen at the same venue.

It was a chaotic Boxing Day 2018 confrontation in the north east when ropey ref Willie Collum adopted Santa Claus-like generosity in gifting the hosts two highly controversial penalty-kicks, seven goals were crammed behind overworked keepers Craig Gordon and Joe Lewis while Scott Sinclair fired in a sparkling hat-trick for the visitors.

The Hoops embarked upon a rollercoaster on a cold, crisp and frosty afternoon that transformed into a heated, keenly-contested meeting between two sides as CQN‘s match reporter noted at the time.

THOSE WERE THE DAYS…Brendan Rodgers and Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes before the Boxing Day clash at Pittodrie in 2018.

Amazingly, only two of the 14 players utilised by Rodgers on that memorable occasion – skipper Callum McGregor and James Forrest – are still at the champions.

Back-up netminder Scott Bain, who could be on the bench today, Anthony Ralston and the injured Mikey Johnston were unused substitutes along with Olivier Ntcham.

Sinclair kick-started the scoring with the opener in the sixth minute, but Stevie May equalised in the 24th minute with the first debateable spot-kick.

It was Rodgers’ £4.5million recruit from Aston Villa in August 2016 who put the visitors ahead again in the 76th minute, but the match official incensed the Celtic manager, players and travelling fans when he once again awarded the Dons a spot-kick and Sam Cosgrove fired past Gordon with only seven minutes to go.

EAR WE GO…Scott Brown has something to say to Dons defender Scott McKenna.

AIR WE GO…Scott Sinclair leaps high in joy after claiming one of his hat-trick at Pittodrie.

The champions were not to be denied, though, and two goals in three minutes from sub Odsonne Edouard, on for McGregor, and Sinclair, completing his trio, edged Rodgers’ men towards the three points to keep them at the Premiership pinnacle.

Lewis Ferguson hit another for the hosts in the fading moments, but it was too little too late to prevent the Parkhead side from achieving a deserved success.

TEAM: Gordon; Lustig, Boyata, Benkovic, Izaguirre (sub: Hayes 46); Brown, McGregor (sub: Edouard 70), Rogic, Forrest (Sub: Ajer 89), Sinclair; Christie.

*DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Aberdeen v Celtic this afternoon – only in your champion CQN.

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