A hard-fought victory for Celtic was overshadowed by the likelihood of a long-term absence for Emilio Izaguirre.
The Honduran full-back, Scotland's player of the year last season and rated at £10m amid admiring glances from England, suffered a broken right leg in the early stages at Pittodrie.
"It is a huge blow for us and the player," said Celtic's manager, Neil Lennon. "It's his fibula, it's fractured. I don't know how long he will be out for, he is being assessed just now to see whether or not he requires surgery. If he does, it will be three months anyway."
The 25-year-old landed badly amid what was a legal challenge by the Aberdeen midfielder Peter Pawlett, after 15 minutes. Lennon held his head in his hands when informed by his club doctor during the match about the diagnosis for Izaguirre.
"You can tell by the players' reaction," Lennon said. "Emilio isn't the type to feign injury. The concern was immediate. We might have to look now for a left-back."
Otherwise, Lennon could take comfort from the claiming of three points in a match where his team failed to reach anything like their best. That said, Aberdeen's lack of punch meant a scoreless draw always looked like the worst Celtic would take back to Glasgow.
"We made it nervous for ourselves," Lennon said. "We had so many chances but our decision making in the final third was poor. We tried to walk the ball into the net at times. That's a bad habit to have."
More encouraging for Lennon was the confident competitive debut of the former Cardiff defender Adam Matthews. A flurry of activity in front of the Aberdeen goal immediately before the interval belied a poor first half. Celtic's Gary Hooper watched an effort deflected over the crossbar, with Scott Vernon's long-range attempt the closest the hosts came to breaking the deadlock.
Celtic had a legitimate penalty claim denied when Hooper looked to be hauled to the ground by Andrew Considine. That incident paled into insignificance as Anthony Stokes provided the definitive intervention. Kris Commons, who otherwise endured an error-strewn afternoon, robbed Ricky Foster in starting the move which Stokes rounded off. After an interchange of passes between the pair, Stokes fired home Commons' cutback for his second goal in as many league matches.
"We committed suicide with a careless error," said the Aberdeen manager, Craig Brown, of Foster's actions. "He [Foster] thought he was impeded. But he would do."
There seemed little chance of an Aberdeen revival, James Forrest and Georgios Samaras going close to doubling Celtic's advantage.
The Polish goalkeeper Grzegorz Sandomierski could arrive in Glasgow as early as Monday, with Celtic closing in on a deal for the 21-year-old. "He is a goalie we like and someone with huge potential," Lennon said.
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