The scoreline suggests a hammering, but once again Aberdeen were disadvantaged against Celtic by a harsh decision that saw them reduced to ten men after only 18 minutes. Celtic may perceive they are not given a fair crack of the whip in Scottish Football, but the Dons have a far stronger claim based on their meetings with the Hoops this season. Three red cards and seven penalties awarded against the Dons tell their own story. Aberdeen had started well and went close through Magennis. That all changed in the 18th minute when Aberdeen were on the attack and Mulgrew was all over Vernon like a rash. Referee Collum waved play on and play raged to the other end where Considine was adjudged to have tripped Hooper. The red army was then shocked as the Aberdeen man was shown a straight red card for his part. Langfield made a great save from Stokes, but the damage had been done and Aberdeen had to play the remainder of the match with ten men. Aberdeen held their own until half time, but the inevitable happened after the break as Aberdeen were over run and lost four goals for their fourth successive semi final appearance.
Within 14 seconds of the kick off Celtic were awarded a free kick in a dangerous spot, but Mulgrew fired well over Langfield's goal. Aluko then tried to threaten, but his pass was blocked as both sides looked to settle. In three minutes Celtic were awarded a soft free kick when Aluko looked to have won the ball cleanly. Aberdeen had the first chance a minute later when Forster fumbled a vicious shot from Magennis following a probing run from Milsom. Commons was allowed to swing in a cross in the 5th minute, but fortunately Stokes was unable to steer his effort on target.
Aluko then went on a great run and the ball was scrambled clear, but Aberdeen kept the pressure on as the men from the north made a much better start than they had in their previous visit to Hampden. Commons was being allowed too much space, but every time an Aberdeen player tackled him a free kick was forthcoming. Vernon then won a free kick in the 8th minute and as the ball was half cleared Magennis collected, but fired wide. Three minutes later the Dons defence held firm as Celtic probed for an opening.
Celtic won the first corner in the 12th minute and as Langfield stayed on his line the defence scrambled the ball away. There was real danger two minutes later when a ball over the top almost caught out Aberdeen, but fortunately Langfield saved the day. A quick reminder that Celtic are a real threat and require total concentration. At the other end Vernon looped an Aluko cross over the bar under pressure from Mulgrew. Seconds later Aberdeen were racing forward when referee Collum decided to award Celtic a free kick.
Diamond put his keeper under undue pressure in the 17th minute, but Langfield was able to clear. At the other end Mulgrew was all over Vernon and no free kick was given. Celtic instantly went forward and won a penalty when Considine was adjudged to have tripped Hooper. Then another Aberdeen v Celtic game was ruined as Considine was red carded despite there being several defenders around him. Langfield made a great save from Stokes spot kick, but the damage was done.
Aberdeen were up against it now and Langfield made another great save in the 25th minute as this game became one sided. An ironic cheer filled Hampden as Aberdeen were awarded a rare free kick. And from the move Milsom set up Maguire, but his header was too close to the Celtic keeper. Aberdeen attempted another move but Maguire failed to control and the ball rolled into the arms of Forster. Celtic were enjoying a lot of possession and this was going to drain the ten men. The Dons were themselves struggling to get forward when in possession.
Aluko tried to find Maguire with a decent pass in the 35th minute, but he was closed down quickly. A minute later Smith made a great headed clearance to concede a corner as Aberdeen were getting forced deeper. A Commons shot was well off target in the 38th minute, as the red army got behind their favourites. Celtic were back on the attack a minute later and again it was Smith who was there to close down Stokes. Aberdeen then forced a corner at the other end, but it came to nothing.
Maguire was brought down by Mulgrew, but there was no caution and Langfield launched the ball into the Celtic box. They failed to threaten and the Dons now needed to concentrate and make sure they didn't concede anything before the break. Unfortunately they conceded a corner in the final minute, but Maguire was able to break before being brought down again. Again the ball was lumped forward and Milsom won it, but once again the referee's whistle ended the threat and the official received his own special welcome from the red army as he left the field at half time.
Langfield rescued the Dons in the 47th minute as Hooper found too much space and went one-on-one with the keeper. The keeper turned the ball round the post as he made himself big and the subsequent corner was cleared by Aberdeen. Celtic were soon back on the attack and a minute later Milsom was booked for a very soft challenge. If Aberdeen did survive this then they can add Milsom and Considine to the list of players missing. From the free kick Mulgrew curled the ball beyond Langfield and into the net as Stokes looked to be holding back Smith deepinside the box.
Within a minute Celtic were awarded another soft free kick despite the referee being on his backside. Smith then made another great block as for the first time we could hear the Celtic support. Aberdeen then had the ball in the net in the 57th minute, but celebrations were cut short by an offside flag. Celtic then went straight up to the other end and Ledley doubled their advantage. Aberdeen didn't give up despite everything and Maguire had a dig at goal just before the hour mark, but Forster saved.
On the hour mark Maguire was brought down for the umpteenth time and Mark Wilson failed to receive a caution despite it being no different to the challenge from Milsom. Blackman then replaced Magennis as McCourt replaced Kayal for Celtic. In the 62nd minute Celtic were awarded a second spot kick as Stokes was brought down and Commons made it 3-0 as the Dons day got worse. Three minutes later the assistant missed two obvious offside calls before Stokes fired over. Vujadinovic replaced Young in the 66th minute with the game lost.
Blackman then won a free kick 25 yards out (again no Celtic caution), but the Dons couldn't convert the chance. At the other end Diamond was booked for a similar foul on Stokes. Maloney replaced Ledley in the 69th minute then two minutes later Langfield made another great save to keep Celtic out. Aluko then showed quick feet and fired inches wide with 72 minutes on the clock. A sight the Dons fans had been denied because of the early handicap imposed on the team. Paton then replaced Vernon for the last ten minutes.
Maloney had a tap in in the 84th minute to make it 4-0 as the game petered out. You just have to wonder what the outcome would have been had the Dons been allowed to play on a level playing field. A minute later Maguire was poised to go for goal when again he was pulled up for a free kick. Aluko then won a late free kick, but nothing came of the chance. The match ended with Maguire being flagged offside in his own half. It more or less summed up the game as the Dons lost four goals for the fourth successive semi-final.