Scottish Premiership
CelticCeltic3AberdeenAberdeen0

Celtic 3-0 Aberdeen

By Chris McLaughlinBBC Scotland at Celtic Park

Celtic stretched their lead at the Scottish Premiership summit to eight points with victory over second-placed Aberdeen in Glasgow.

Mikael Lustig scored the opener in a competitive first half as his shot found the net via a wicked deflection.

Former Dons winger Jonny Hayes bagged a second - and his first for Celtic - from close range after 69 minutes.

And Olivier Ntcham latched onto a terrible Kenny McLean backpass to wrap up the three points.

This was a chance for Celtic to strengthen their grip on top spot with in-form Aberdeen snapping at their heels just five points behind.

The occasion and atmosphere was always going to dictate the tempo and as Aberdeen pressed, Celtic zipped the ball around with precision and purpose in the early stages.

There was no reward for their possession, though, and the visitors started to grow in confidence.

That confidence was converted into a fabulous chance for former Celtic winger Gary Mackay-Steven midway through the first half.

Dedryck Boyata allowed a high ball to bounce on the edge of his box and Mackay-Steven collected possession, turned the Belgian international inside out, and fired a low shot just past Craig Gordon's left-hand post. It was a warning that prompted a few dissenting groans around Celtic Park.

That was the first of three quick-fire chances in the space of 10 minutes, with the other two calling both goalkeepers into action. Joe Lewis did well to block Scott Sinclair's shot after the Englishman was one-on-one with the Aberdeen stopper, and Greg Stewart watched his fierce drive fisted away by Gordon at the other end.

Jonny Hayes stretches to score for Celtic against Aberdeen
Jonny Hayes scored his first Celtic goal against his former club

With five minutes to the break, Celtic took the lead thanks to some neat build-up play and a huge slice of luck. Hayes and Ntcham played a sharp one-two at the end of the Aberdeen box and when Lustig picked the ball up his shot flew off the back of Dominic Ball and high past a wrong-footed Lewis.

It was a sore one to take for the hard-working visitors but on the balance of play, deserved.

Keen to kill the contest quickly, Celtic immediately applied pressure after the interval and Moussa Dembele saw his close-range effort deflected just wide, before Kieran Tierney and Ntcham also tested Lewis.

Dembele and Sinclair were beginning to cause the creaking Dons defence problems, with Ntcham, the dominant influence in midfield, spraying balls forward.

Kari Arnason and McLean gave the small band of travelling fans hope with a couple of close encounters, but it was one of their former team-mates who struck at the other end.

Sinclair showed his guile once again down the left flank and when he whipped in a fine cross, Hayes had the easiest of finishes from five yards out. It was mortal blow for Aberdeen, who had already been wounded by a mixture of a slick Celtic and their own lack of self-belief.

As if to underline the point, the third came from a horrible Dons error that was pounced on by Ntcham. McLean was short with the backpass and the Frenchman skipped in, rounded Lewis and slotted home with ease.

Olivier Ntcham rolls home Celtic's third goal against Aberdeen
Olivier Ntcham slotted Celtic's third goal after a glaring error from Kenny McLean

Dembele and substitute Odsonne Edouard had good opportunities to inflict more damage in the closing stages, but their wasted chances did not take the shine off a dominant display.

Line-ups

Celtic

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Gordon
  • 23LustigBooked at 77mins
  • 20Boyata
  • 35Ajer
  • 63Tierney
  • 8Brown
  • 21Ntcham
  • 15HayesSubstituted forMcGregorat 76'minutes
  • 14Armstrong
  • 11SinclairSubstituted forForrestat 70'minutes
  • 10DembeleSubstituted forEdouardat 81'minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Simunovic
  • 6Bitton
  • 9Griffiths
  • 22Edouard
  • 24de Vries
  • 42McGregor
  • 49Forrest

Aberdeen

Formation 4-1-4-1

  • 1Lewis
  • 18BallBooked at 35mins
  • 5O'Connor
  • 14ArnasonBooked at 8mins
  • 4Considine
  • 6Reynolds
  • 8StewartSubstituted forRossat 84'minutes
  • 7McLeanBooked at 71mins
  • 3ShinnieBooked at 30mins
  • 11Mackay-StevenSubstituted forHarvieat 89'minutes
  • 9RooneySubstituted forMaynardat 67'minutes

Substitutes

  • 10Maynard
  • 15Wright
  • 19McKenna
  • 20Rogers
  • 21Harvie
  • 25Ross
  • 44Campbell
Referee:
Craig Thomson
Attendance:
58,975

Match Stats

Home TeamCelticAway TeamAberdeen
Possession
Home56%
Away44%
Shots
Home18
Away7
Shots on Target
Home8
Away1
Corners
Home7
Away7
Fouls
Home10
Away12

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Celtic 3, Aberdeen 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Celtic 3, Aberdeen 0.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Stuart Armstrong (Celtic) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.

  4. Post update

    Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Dominic Ball.

  5. Post update

    Attempt missed. Andrew Considine (Aberdeen) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high following a corner.

  6. Substitution

    Substitution, Aberdeen. Daniel Harvie replaces Gary Mackay-Steven.

  7. Post update

    Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Scott Brown.

  8. Post update

    Attempt missed. Stuart Armstrong (Celtic) left footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.

  9. Post update

    Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Dominic Ball.

  10. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Odsonne Edouard (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

  11. Substitution

    Substitution, Aberdeen. Frank Ross replaces Greg Stewart.

  12. Post update

    Attempt saved. Kieran Tierney (Celtic) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  13. Post update

    Stuart Armstrong (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Mark Reynolds (Aberdeen).

  15. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Olivier Ntcham (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  16. Post update

    Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Gary Mackay-Steven.

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, Celtic. Odsonne Edouard replaces Moussa Dembele.

  18. Post update

    Foul by James Forrest (Celtic).

  19. Post update

    Kenny McLean (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  20. Post update

    Attempt saved. Moussa Dembele (Celtic) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

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