Strachan admits Dons were tough

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Celtic manager Gordon Strachan admits his side could have had an easier warm-up for their crucial Champions League clash with Villarreal in Spain next Tuesday than having to battle to a last-gasp home win over Aberdeen.

A 90th-minute strike by Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink gave the home side a dramatic victory after it looked like the three points could have been heading north.

Strachan said: "I would have liked it to have been easier in the last 20 minutes and I'm sure the players would have liked to have been easier. But Aberdeen didn't make it easy for them."

He added: "I watched them during the week and told my players that they are good at attacking, they have strength and pace and I was proved right.

"From a coach's point of view, it's not easy to watch games like that but for the fans - and that's why we are here - we have to try and entertain and try and win and we have achieved both. Aberdeen achieved the entertaining part."

Vennegoor of Hesselink fired Celtic into a first-half lead but former Hoops' player Charlie Mulgrew, on as a first half substitute for Scott Severin, drilled home the equaliser in the 56th minute before curling a wonderful free-kick past Artur Boruc eight minutes later.

Scott McDonald, on for Marc Crosas, headed home the equaliser in the 77th minute to level the scores before the Holland international squeezed Aiden McGeady's cross in at the near post to send a frenzied Celtic Park in raptures borne mostly of relief.

Strachan revealed that right-back Andreas Hinkel will miss the trip to Villarreal with a thigh strain while midfielder Barry Robson is struggling after having an injection in his injured groin.

Strachan admitted that time appeared to stand still when Dons striker Darren Mackie ran through on goal in injury time to beat Boruc with his chip only for the ball to trickle past the post.

He said: "It's that long wait after he kicks it until you find out if it is going to hit the net. It's a long, long wait. It was a couple of seconds but it seemed like 20 minutes."

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Scott Severin
Scott McDonald
Gordon Strachan
Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink
Charlie Mulgrew
Barry Robson

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