For the League Cup Final Derek McInnes brought Ashton Taylor back into the side in place Jayden Stockley. The game kicked off in a tremendous atmosphere with the 20,000 plus Aberdeen supporters producing a superb flag display and also making their voices heard. Aberdeen lined up a back four of Logan, Taylor, O'Connor and Considine. Jack and Shinnie were the holding midfielders with Maddison, McLean and Hayes ahead of them and Rooney upfront.
The opening 20 minutes were going to be crucial.
Aberdeen were happy to let Celtic have possession and were keeping the defence and midfield lines tight together. In the second minute Roberts playing out on the right wing got inside Considine but overran the ball and Taylor was able to whack the ball clear. In the sixth minute Forrest went to ground inside the area but the penalty appeals were very half hearted. Many of the players were slipping about on the Hampden surface.
In the ninth minute for the first time Hayes over the right got one on one with Izaguirre and from a standing start absolutely left him for dead. Brown did well to come over and cover and it was one of the rare occasions Hayes got a chance to run at the left back.
In the 11th minute Maddison got on the ball for the first time and he played a great through ball for Rooney which the striker just failed to take in his stride. On 12 minutes Izaguirre put over a cross which Dembele headed on target but Lewis palmed the ball down and Considine hooked it clear. The striker had a clear header and probably should have done better.
Back came the Dons. Maddison forced Brown into a foul 25 yards out. It was in a nice central position but frustratingly McLean could not get the ball over the wall. Then after quarter of an hour Maddison found space thirty yards out, he had options but elected to shoot and his shot was blocked. Celtic then came forward and got a very fortunate break of the ball. For a second the Dons lost their shape and the Glasgow side took advantage. Tom Rogic was able to pick his spot and curled a shot past Lewis. It was a very good finish but very disappointing from the Dons point of view. Aberdeen seconds before had a great chance and but then all of a sudden found themselves a goal down.
On 17 minutes Maddison won another free kick. The ball was curled in and Considine's header was pushed clear by Gordon. A really good chance which Andrew almost caught too cleanly. It was probably the Dons best chance of the game and it would have been a great time to score.
The tempo of the game finally started to slow down a bit and for the next 10 minutes there was little in the way of goalmouth action although Celtic still had a lot of possession.
After 27 minutes Celtic won the first corner of the game which Taylor headed clear. The Aberdeen midfield were starting to get a foothold into the game.
On 35 minutes Considine did well to force Roberts across the pitch and Forrest pushed a shot just wide. But a minute later slack defending allowed Forrest to run from deep into the area and despite pressure from Considine and O'Connor the Celtic winger poked a shot past Lewis to give Celtic a 2-0 lead. Another disappointing goal from a red view point.
In the 38th minute Maddison won the Dons their first corner. Taylor rose well but was unable to get good enough contact on his header. On 41 minutes Maddison linked with Rooney for the first time but Adam got under his shot and the ball comfortably cleared the bar. It was his only real chance all afternoon and it was a half chance at best. A minute later the Dons won a corner which O'Connor coming in late attacked but Gordon was able to gather the high ball. As Aberdeen continued to finish the half strongly Taylor knocked a free kick down for Rooney but the striker was quickly crowded out.
Celtic only had three clear cut chances in the first half but went in at the interval two up.
In the first minute of the second period a half chance for McLean but the ball just fell behind him. The Dons passes in the final third were lacked the accuracy needed.
In the 48th minute a Dembele header was gathered by Lewis at the back post before a Brown foul on Maddison, his fifth in the game, resulted in a yellow card for the Celtic skipper. On 49 minutes a Hayes ball in was headed down by Taylor who had come up for a free kick but Gordon just managed to scramble to the ball ahead of Rooney.
On 51 minutes Rooney put a superb ball across the face of goal but frustratingly no one had readthe situation and made a run across the box. From the resulting corner a brilliant ball in from Maddison almost created a chance for O'Connor but the defender diving full length could not get quite get his head on it. On 54 minutes a Hayes cross was met by McLean but his effort was deflected behind. From the corner McLean made a great run to the near post but his flick was just too faint. This was a really good spell from the Dons that got the fans on their feet. The Celtic players were not playing with the same tempo and sharpness.
On 56 minutes Aberdeen forced another corner but again Celtic were able to clear. Then after 58 minutes a free kick ran through to O'Connor at the back of the area but his ball back across drifted out of play. Another half chance wasted.
With an hour gone Aberdeen were ready to make their first change, but before they could do that Forrest drew a foul from O'Connor inside the area and they had a penalty. There were no protests. Dembele put the ball to the opposite side of Lewis and it was pretty much game over with just under half an hour to go.
Stockley did eventually come on O'Connor with Shinnie moving to left back.
On 72 minutes Celtic sub Nir Bitton was booked for a foul on Maddison. Just before that McGinn had replaced Hayes. The Celtic players who had been looking a bit leggy just before the third goal were now looking a lot fresher and were in control. After 78 minutes Adam Rooney was replaced by Wes Burns.
In the last fifteen minutes, the game was played at pedestrian pace although Aberdeen kept fighting till the end. On 83 minutes Armstrong should have added a fourth after McLean gave away possession but he failed to hit the target after the ball had been squared to him. With three minutes to go Maddison found some space but his shot was too close to Gordon.
A massively disappointing afternoon.