CALLUM MCGREGOR and Kristoffer Ajer scored the goals that saw Celtic close in on a ninth successive Scottish championship with a hard-fought 2-1 win away to Aberdeen on Sunday.

Victory at Pittodrie left runaway Scottish Premiership leaders Celtic a huge 13 points ahead of arch-rivals Rangers before their fellow Glasgow giants face Livingston later in the day.

But Neil Lennon’s men did not have things all their own way against the Dons, with Ash Taylor equalising before half-time after McGregor had given the Hoops an early lead.

Indeed it was Aberdeen who had the better of the initial exchanges only for the visitors to break the deadlock in the 10th minute.

Leigh Griffiths nudged Scott McKenna as the defender looked to clear an aerial ball. Celtic worked the ball to James Forrest and although his shot was well saved by Joe Lewis, the rebound fell to McGregor who fired home into the bottom corner.

But soon after Celtic’s Greg Taylor went off with a hamstring injury in the 25th minute, Aberdeen were level.

Celtic were forced into an early change as Greg Taylor was forced off with a hamstring injury 25 minutes in and a minute later, Aberdeen were level.

Connor McLennan’s cross from the right was tuned on by Matty Kennedy and Taylor, controlling the ball off his chest, then shot past Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster.

From then on Aberdeen had the better chances in the remainder of the first half without making their pressure tell. 

Celtic, however, got back into the game after the interval and former Aberdeen winger and Ireland international Jonny Hayes could have restored their lead in the 74th minute only to be denied by the advancing Lewis, who saved well.

But nine minutes from time Ajer scored the goal that settled the match after crowning a move started by Odsonne Edouard’s back-heel.

That touch released Forrest and the winger’s cross found the unmarked Ajer at the far post, with the Norwegian shooting high into the roof of the net past Lewis from 10 yards out.