By Jack the Lad
Celtic stretched their lead over Aberdeen at the top of the table to seven points after a resounding win over the Dons at Celtic Park.
A Leigh Griffiths double followed by a James Forrest strike ensured a 3-1 win for the Hoops, although the scoreline flattered Derek McInnes’ side.
Tom Rogic returned to the starting eleven after an impressive performance from the bench at Tynecastle, while promising youngster Kieran Tierney replaced Izaguirre at left back.
Having been beaten by the Dandies at Pittodrie back in September, Deila’s men were hell bent on gaining revenge.
However, it took over 10 minutes for the Bhoys to create their first chance of the game. Rogic threaded a delightful through ball to Griffiths, who could only pull his first chance of the game narrowly wide past the post.
The early stages of the game were dominated by the Hoops, but the Dons looked just as dangerous on the counter.
Indeed, it took an outstanding last ditch Jozo Simunovic interception to deny ex Celt Niall McGinn the chance to bear down on the Celtic goal on the 20 minute mark.
Celtic responded through Forrest moments later, who cut inside Logan and had his driven shot from distance narrowly deflected wide.
With half an hour gone, the Bhoys created their best chance of the game. A Kris Commons knock down managed to find Griffiths 6 yards out. With the fans already celebrating a goal, Danny Ward in the Aberdeen goal thwarted the Scotland international with a stunning save to tip the ball wide for a corner.
Aberdeen should’ve had the lead only a minute later, as McInnes’ side created their best chance of the game. An excellent cross from
Johnny Hayes found Rooney in acres of space, but his header could only flash wide of Gordon’s goal. A lucky escape.
Celtic were gifted two clear goalscoring opportunities moments later after a lapse in the Dons’ defence.
Dedryck Boyata had his free header from a corner cleared off the line, while Griffiths skied the ball from a relatively simple position after being fed through by Lustig.
You would’ve been forgiven for thinking Griffiths had been replaced by a disguised Amido Balde as some sort of cruel halloween joke.
However, on the stroke of half time, it was Griffiths who gave Celtic the lead.
A world class cross from the ever impressive Tierney found its way to the head of Griffiths, who rose above Ash Taylor and guided the ball past Ward in the Aberdeen goal. He’ll be having nightmares about that one for a while. Excuse the poor Halloween puns.
The Celts started the second half strongly as they looked the put the Sheep to the sword. After what can only be described as an Efe Ambrose-esque tackle, Deila’s men were able to do just that.
Taylor, clearly looking to emulate the Nigerian powerhouse’s Balon D’or winning performances of the past year, hacked down Commons in the box when it appeared he had no where to go.
Griffiths stepped up, and finished emphatically for his sixteenth of the season and Celtic’s second of the day. I though this ‘title race’ was meant to be tough?
It was only ten minutes later when the Bhoys added a third. The outstanding Tom Rogic beat his man and picked out the advancing Forrest, who in turn flicked the ball past the Dons’ centre half and slotted the ball home as a motionless Ward watched on.
3-0. Game over.
Deila’s men kept up the pressure as they searched for a fourth goal. Griffiths’ fizzing effort after 70 minutes forced a smart save from Ward to tip over, while Stuart Armstrong, just on as a sub, should have had two after a couple of excellent chances, one of which was saved and the other went over the bar.
It was the Dons, however, who grabbed the next goal. The continuing trend of conceding from set pieces once again became our undoing, as a quick free kick caught out the Celtic defence, who had left an unmarked Adam Rooney free to nod home from inside the box late on.
At that, the fat lady sang and it was the team from Glasgow who went home with the three points.
I think I speak for most fans when I say that today’s performance was one of our best of the season. Some outstanding passing football was played, to which Aberdeen had no answer. The gulf in quality between the two teams was there for all to see, and in truth, the scoreline was somewhat flattering for McInnes and his side.
The continued improvement in Griffiths, Rogic and Tierney were positives in what was essentially a stroll in the park, with the only blip being some despicable defending from deadball situations. It’s becoming a bit of a recurring theme, surely someone at Lennoxtown has to sort it out?
Overall, a great day for the Hoops. Six points clear after only a few weeks ago we were four behind. What was more important was the manner of the win, which will surely boost confidence ahead of Thursday’s crunch Europa League fixture against Molde. Believe it or not, it’s a bloody 6.05pm kick off time. Get thinking about excuses to leave the work early now.