Cup Semi Final V Aberdeen, 14th April 2019Much has been made of a few lacklustre performances since Neil Lennon took over as caretaker manager of the club following the departure of Brendan Rodgers to England. Although performances could be criticised, the results had been good with the exception of the home draw against Livingston. Taking all this into consideration, there was an apprehension amongst the support for a game involving Aberdeen, which could move us one step closer to the Rebel Treble
This was the backdrop to a very enjoyable game of football - unless you are one of the Aberdeen fans who watched their team being outplayed, outfought and out-thought in a torrid 90 minutes +.
23 Lustig 5 Simunovic 35 Ajer 63 Tierney
8 Brown 42 McGregor
49 Forrest 17 Christie 15 Hayes
- 2 Toljan
- 11 Sinclair
- 18 Rogic
- 21 Ntcham
- 24 De Vries
- 30 Weah
- 32 Benkovic
The match got off to a hectic start with the early chances falling, surprisingly, to Jozo Simunovic. The first was a well struck shot from about 20 yards which the Aberdeen keeper did well to dive to the left and save. His second effort was a little left of the keepers right post and went over the line for a by kick.
Celtic were definitely the better of the two teams to start and created other shots from Christie and Edouard, before the first really big incident of the match. As the first half drew towards a conclusion a ball popped up in midfield and the resulting header was easily won by Ryan Christie. Unfortunately for him Dominic Ball decided to come in late for the same challenge, and with no chance of winning the ball caught Christie on the cheek with his head. Having been booked a few minutes earlier, Ball saw a second yellow and was red carded. It was an unnecessary challenge with no prospect of success and may well have caused the Celtic midfielder a nasty cheek fracture which will likely rule him out for the remainder of the season.
After the game got underway again, the ball found it's way from McGregor to the feet of James Forrest, who turned quickly from his right onto his left, took a touch and then let fly a shot from distance that curled magnificently into the net and past a despairing Joe Lewis. The little magician has been in fine form this season, and this goal is one of the best of his career to date. truly unstoppable!!
Celtic could have extended their lead before half time with efforts from Forrest and Lustig, but the half ended with a single goal and single man advantage.
Half time : Aberdeen 0 - 1 Celtic
Fifteen minutes into the second half, the Champions doubled their lead when Johnny Hayes was tripped in the box. Edouard stepped up and coolly slotted home the spot kick into Lewis's right hand corner, and although the Dons keeper got close, the accuracy of the Frenchman prevailed and the net bulged when his effort found the bag.
At this point Aberdeen did what other clubs have a habit of doing against us - and totally lost the plot with their discipline. A succession of fouls and booking led to what can only be described as a ridiculous challenge from Lewis Ferguson on Tom Rogic 25 yards from goal. The young midfielder, son of Derek Ferguson and nephew of Bawwy Fergusson dived in with two feet on the Aussie playmaker with reckless abandon. It is a piece of fortune that saw Rogic come away unscathed, but no surprise that the hotheaded Aberdeen player saw red.
Mikael Lustig stepped up to take the resultant free kick which rebounded back to Tom Rogic who stroked the ball inside the far right post to take the advantage to an unassailable three goal lead. Aberdeen had posed no real threat all day, and now, with a three goal defecit, 2 players and a mangaer all sent off, there was no way they were ever coming back from the situation they found themselves in.
Celtic came close on a few occasions before the end with Edouard, Weah and Sinclair having chances, but the final whistle came with a three nil victory under the belt. It was an easy victory from start to end, and the Aberdeen fans had to make the long journey home knowing that they had just played the best team in the country and had been shown up. The indiscipline from their players and management along with the disgusting chants from their fans, will be deflected by McInnes's sadness about being verbally abused, but let it not be denied - this defeat was about one team showing class and the other having none.
Abe 32% Celtic 68%
Abe 2 Celtic 24
Shots on Target
Abe 0 Celtic 10
Statistics don't lie, and our dominance in this game was total. What I will take away in terms of memory though, was a masterclass from our young winger and a giant peach of a goal!!!!!