Celtic boss Neil Lennon praised the impact of substitute Lassad Nouioui as the visitors overcame a well-drilled Aberdeen side to run out 2-0 winners at Pittodrie.
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A crowd of over 18,000 packed into Pittodrie to see Craig Brown's high-flying home side take on the Clydesdale Bank Premier League champions.
It was an even affair until Lassad put the visitors ahead in the 73rd minute, and former Aberdeen man Charlie Mulgrew added a second soon afterwards.
Lennon said: "It was always going to be difficult. The pitch wasn't conducive to playing quick football. The grass was long and heavy, and when we weighed up the conditions we went with a powerful team.
"It was a real test for the players today which they've come through very, very well. We missed two really good chances in the first half, and you start to wonder if the breakthrough will come."
Lennon commended his goalscorers, adding: "I thought Lassad's performance, for the 20 minutes he was on, was superb. He's a great asset to have and hopefully he can keep injury-free.
"I said to Charlie that it's very difficult for us not to pick him now. It wasn't his best game, but he's grown into an all-round footballer and I was delighted to see him get his goal."
With a Champions League trip to Benfica ahead in midweek, there were concerns over Kris Commons and Georgios Samaras who were both substituted.
Lennon said: "Kris has a dead leg so should be fit for Wednesday. Sami [Samaras] felt he could only really last 70 or 80 minutes after playing midweek, but the game will have done him a power of good."
Lennon was hopeful his other missing key men will also be in contention, adding: "We'll have (Gary) Hooper, (Scott) Brown and (Joe) Ledley hopefully training tomorrow, so we're getting players back.
"It was great for (Beram) Kayal to get through 90 minutes as well, because he's had an injury-hit season."
Aberdeen boss Craig Brown signalled disappointment in his side's performance in front of a superb Pittodrie crowd, but paid tribute to the fans who had got behind his team.
He said: "I don't think we did enough to win the game, but maybe to draw. Other than the two goals, I don't think Jamie Langfield had a lot to do in terms of making saves or cutting out crosses.
"I may be a bit optimistic, but it looked like it would finish 0-0.
"It's a measure of champions that they win when they need to, but Celtic have lost to other teams in the SPL and I had hoped that there might be a chance for us to win."
Ryan Fraser was again substituted after some enthusiastic challenges, but Brown praised the hardiness of the 18-year-old winger.
"He was winded. He was knocked about a bit," Brown said.
"I spoke to him when he came off and he was feeling a bit of pain, but he's a brave wee guy so hopefully he'll be back for next week.
"We had to replace Gavin Rae, who is very influential for us, at half-time with a hamstring, and we had started without Ryan Jack, Gary Naysmith and Rob Milsom.
"To lose another one at half-time didn't help us. It's not an excuse because we didn't do enough and didn't keep the ball the way we have been doing."