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Aberdeen 0 - 4 Celtic

HT Score: Aberdeen 0 - 4 Celtic

Scottish Premiership
Celtic scorers: Edouard (10), Frimpong (15), Forrest (37), Elyounoussi (45)

27/10/2019 | KO: 12:15

Celtic too strong for Dons

A four goal first half blitz from an imperious Celtic was simply too much for the Dons to handle as the Glasgow side eased to a convincing victory at Pittodrie.

Following on from the Dons' impressive 3-0 win at Motherwell last weekend, manager Derek McInnes retained the same matchday 18 and made just the one change to the starting line-up, Connor McLennan stepping up from the bench to replace James Wilson who took his place among the substitutes.

After a week in which they beat Ross County 6-0 at Celtic Park last Saturday and followed that up with a last gasp 2-1 win over Lazio in the Europa League at the same venue on Thursday night, Neil Lennon made two changes to the side that defeated the Italians. Abed Elhamed and former Aberdeen loanee Ryan Christie were replaced by Frimpong and Rogic.

Right from the off, the Dons looked to target Bolingoli with the pace and strength of McLennan, referee Beaton helping the full-back out with a couple of poor early decisions in his favour. They weren't to be the only ones from the whistler who seemed unable to recognise far worse challenges on Sam Cosgrove in the same area.

After a frantic but largely even opening period, ten minutes in, the visitors were in front through Edouard who played a one-two with Forrest before racing 20 yards forward, showing great close control as he slalomed into the box and sticking his shot across Joe Lewis and in off the post.

Five minutes later, it was two, Frimpong starting the move down the right before feeding Edouard who then squared it back to Frimpong who forced the ball over the line from amidst a ruck of Lewis, McKenna and Logan, all converging inside the six-yard box.

Celtic were playing with real swagger now, the Dons clinging on as the reigning champions knocked the ball around with confidence. Aberdeen slowly started to clear their heads though and just past midway, began to enjoy some possession of their own before, in the 28th minute, Andy Considine collected the game's first yellow card.

Aberdeen's first corner came down the left in the 32nd minute, McGinn getting it back from a short corner before crossing, Bolingoli happy to nod behind at the back post. The second corner came to nothing, Jullien heading clear.
Celtic picked it up again in the 37th minute and a lengthy spell of possession culminated in the third goal. Rogic threaded the ball into the penalty area, Elyounoussi collecting the pass. Momentarily, he seemed to have overrun it, only for Forrest to emerge from behind him to collect the ball and tuck his shot past the exposed Lewis from 12 yards.

Just seconds before the break, it was four. Rogic swept the ball out to Frimpong and after carrying it forward, he returned the ball to Rogic on the corner of the box. His curling cross picked out Elyounoussi ten yards from goal. He chested it down and, on the turn, hooked the ball into the net, giving Lewis no hope. Four shots on goal, four goals for the clinical visitors.

HALF-TIME: Aberdeen 0 Celtic 4

Craig Bryson and James Wilson were introduced for Aberdeen at the break in place of McGinn and McLennan. Bitton joined the fray for Celtic, replacing Jullien.

Celtic started the second half in similar vein, Considine and Zak Vyner both called into action to put a stop to dangerous looking moves in the first few minutes. In the 55th minute, Edouard stood over a free-kick 25 yards out, curling the ball over the wall but over the bar too.

Ajer was given the freedom of Pittodrie in the 58th minute, bringing the ball forward 80 yards, the centre-back's rampaging runs a problem through the afternoon that Aberdeen simply couldn't deal with, the move ultimately ending in a corner, Elyounoussi firing wide from 18 yards from the set play.

Edouard won another free-kick in the 64th minute, this one on the edge of the D, Lewis saving his effort superbly at the far post, going full stretch to palm the ball behind. That was the Frenchman's last real contribution, making way for Bayo in the 70th minute.

The Dons finally manufactured a chance in the 73rd minute, Considine spearing in a dangerous cross from out on the left, Greg Leigh getting his head on the ball but putting his effort over the bar from ten yards out. Moments later, Frimpong was left all alone from similar distance at the opposite end, but the Manchester City loanee blazed his effort wide.

Rogic came closer in the 75th minute, firing just over from 20 yards after a misplaced pass by Wilson allowed Bayo to drive forward before picking out his colleague in the hoops. Aberdeen made their final change six minutes later, Gallagher replaced by Dean Campbell. Celtic made their third change at the same point, former Aberdeen man Jonny Hayes replacing Elyounoussi as the game meandered towards its close.

Hayes almost engineered a fifth goal, freeing Bayo after taking the ball off McKenna, the striker overrunning it and allowing Lewis to smother. Four goals were more than enough to see the Dons well beaten and in need of getting this defeat out of their system before Wednesday's trip to Hamilton.

"I thought we were awful.

"After losing the first goal we lacked personality and determination. It almost felt like anytime the ball went into our box in the first half it ended up in a goal.

"Up until the first goal it looked as if we knew what we were doing, trying to put a press on, got up the pitch, we knew Celtic would have that rotation and find the spare man through their centre halves and midfield.

"I felt for Greg and Zak in there. As good as they were last week, when you are up against three international players, good players that Celtic have got in there, it was a bit more difficult for them to get to grips with that midfield.

"That wasn't the biggest issue for me. The biggest issue was a lack of tackles, a lack of contact, lack of determination.

"The first goal in particular is awful. How Edouard can just come off, receive a throw in, the lack of a challenge, lack of determination to stop that happening was particularly poor for me.

"It didn't get much better defensively and we lost confidence from then on in. We looked like a team that stood back and admired Celtic's good play.

"When Celtic are at their best we can still lose that game but I don't expect us to lose the type of goals that we lost today because I expect us to let Celtic know we are there a bit more than we actually did.

"The second half, we made changes, but I am not kidded, we get a clean sheet second half but that is more to do the excursions of Celtic from Thursday night. The game was done in their eyes, they had done their job and still controlled the vast majority of the game.

"We can't take Celtic on with a possession based game, especially with the lack of midfielders we have got at the moment but what we can do is let them know they are in a game far better than what we did today.

"That was a huge disappointment from me today. I was astonished at some of the defending and I was astonished at some of the goals we lose. It was painful.

"I can only apologise to the supporters. Our supporters are deserving of far better than that. I think I am deserving of better than that from my team.

"My players are better than what they showed today. The personality came a wee bit when Bryson came on, you can hear Bryson, he is organising, he's cajoling, he's barking instructions, he's criticising, he's making people do things better.

"He was a lone voice out there at times. He's a proper person, he knows the game. I need influence and those types on the pitch more.

"All week I have expected us to be far better than what we would be today.

"When the second goal went in there was no real reaction from my team and I almost felt as if though the confidence had gone from the majority.

"I wasn't expecting that type of performance.

"Ferguson will help us when he comes back. Hopefully Bryson can come in and help us now. He hasn't been at the physio's door for the last eight or nine days so we feel as if though we are getting a run of training into him and hopefully that will then play out on the pitch.

"We need player to react in the right way. The only focus now is trying to make sure we win the next two games.

"The supporters should expect better and hopefully we can deliver better over the next few games.

"Once we get our injury situation cleared up, we can start to deliver better and the next time we play the Old Firm, give a better account of ourselves.

"There was a real gulf today. I was seeing them putting so much into the game against Lazio as a real advantage for us. I wanted that to use that advantage, I wanted a quick game, I wanted tempo, I wanted contact, but good players were allowed to be good players today and that for me is disappointing.

"Celtic at times were fantastic but we allowed that to happen. You have got to be far braver.

"All week we have spoke about trying to be more aggressive and get after the game and not allowing Celtic opportunities to enjoy the game and they still found a way. They have got some brilliant players. They have put together a very good squad as have Rangers.

"My concern isn't them; my concern is my own team and trying to reach a standard of performance that we got last week at Motherwell. The performance was miles away from that today."

Aberdeen Teamsheet
Lewis, Logan, Leigh, Considine, McKenna, Devlin, Gallagher (Campbell 81), McGinn (Wilson 46), McLennan (Bryson 46), Cosgrove, Vyner.

Unused Subs: Gleeson, Anderson, Hedges, Cerny.

Bookings:  Considine (28).
Celtic Teamsheet
Forster, Frimpong, Jullien (Bitton 46), Ajer, Bolingoli, Brown, Rogic, Elyounoussi (Hayes 82), McGregor, Forrest, Edouard (Bayo 70)

Subs not used: Gordon, Bauer, Abed Elhamed, Sinclair
Attendance: 15,079
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Referee: John Beaton