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Celtic 7 - 0 Aberdeen

HT Score: Celtic 3 - 0 Aberdeen

Celtic scorers: Hartson 26, Hartson 35, Larsson 42, Hartson 53, Balde 71, Hartson 81, Maloney 85

03/11/2002 | KO: 15:00

Dons dumped in Paradise

Aberdeen suffered their second 7-0 defeat at Celtic Park in recent years. The result is even more surprising given that the Dons dominated the opening 20 minutes of the match playing some great football and looking dangerous. However Hartson opened the scoring against the run of play and the floodgates then opened. Poor David Preece was in goals on the last occasion this happened, but you couldn't blame the English keeper for this result. The Dons will be hoping to put this one behind them and look to the CIS cup tie in midweek.

Aberdeen made a positive start to the match with Derek Young probing on the left and the Dons lining up with three up front. Celtic posted an early warning of what they are capable of when Sutton hit a screamer inches over the bar as early as the 2nd minute. The Dons were unperturbed and continued to press on the flanks winning the first corner of the game in the 5th minute. The resultant kick saw McGuire head the ball into the path of Derek Young and it took a desperate block by Douglas to deny Young the opener.

Celtic went close in the 9th minute when Thomson took a quick free kick and Sylla scooped the ball well over amid rather hopeful appeals for a spot kick. A minute later Darren Young was back quickly to concede a corner as Larsson threatened. From that set play Sutton hit the post as Celtic began to recover from their shaky start. Good interplay on the edge of the box saw the Dons threatening once more in the 13th minute and Balde was forced to concede a corner as Bisconti threatened.

McAllister then threaded the ball into the box. With Derek Young finding himself with his back to goal he rolled the ball into the path of brother Darren, but his shot went high into the crowd. The Dons had a great chance in the 19th minute when they broke up a Celtic attack and Fabiano latched on to a long clearance. Unfortunately Michie showed some inexperience as he ran into an offside position. The home side were relieved to see the flag as the youngster was clearly brought down as he rounded Douglas.

Celtic were clearly rattled and mistakes were being made at the back as Aberdeen kept up the pressure. There's an old adage in football that you need to score when you are on top and this was proved correct in the 26th minute when Hartson beat Preece with a powerful header from a ball delivered by Guppy. It seemed a little unjust as the crowd had witnessed Aberdeens best spell of football at Parkhead in a long time. As often happens in these cases the Dons were given no breaks. In the 29th minute Deloumeaux was clearly impeded under the nose of Dallas. The whistler waved the game on forcing McGuire into a saving tackle, which earned the centre back a yellow card. Fortunately for the Dons Sutton hit the resultant free kick straight into the arms of Preece.

Celtic were in command now and the Dons were forced to deal with a series of set plays around their penalty area. The second goal arrived in the 35th minute from open play when Larsson (looking suspiciously offside) collected a pass on the left. He drilled the ball across the face of the goal and Hartson had a simple tap-in to make it 2-0. Larsson went close two minutes later as Celtic continued to dominate. After dominating the opening 25 minutes, the Dons were now hanging on for half time as first Hartson went close and then Thomson hit the post in the 40th minute.

The third goal came in the 43rd minute and this time it came from a set play. Bisconti appeared to be fouled on the edge of his own box before he returned the compliment on Sutton. Dallas awarded a kick for the second infringement. Bisconti was booked for protesting and Larsson dispatched the ball into the net to end a miserable 20-minute spell.

Celtic created the first opening of the second period when Preece was down quickly to block a Thompson effort in the 49th minute. Two minutes later Bisconti should have done better when Derek Young delivered the perfect pass. He had looked off the pace all day and once more he hesitated allowing Douglas to save his shot. The Dons were to pay for this in the 53rd minutes when Hartson completed his hat-trick with a neat lob.

Celtic continued to dominate as the Dons were forced further back and the home side carved out chance after chance. Although the Dons were now beaten the heads didn't go down and Preece made a great save from Hartson in the 66th minute. Seconds later Skovdahl introduced Mike and Tiernan for Bisconti and Derek Young. Mr Dallas hadn't shown us his yellow card in quite a while so he booked McAllister in the 70th minute for an innocuous challenge. A minute later Balde added a fifth when he was given too much space inside the area.

Billio replaced a struggling Rutkiewicz in the 74th minute and two minutes later McAllister was forced to clear from the line. Celtic grabbed a sixth in the 81st minute and it was Hartson again. He almost grabbed his fifth two minutes later as the Dons began to look totally bedraggled. McGuire looked lively enough in the 83rd minute when a last minute tackle denied another although was forced to leave the field for treatment. While McGuire received attention on the touchline, another free kick was conceded which Maloney converted into goal number seven.

Maloney then almost made it eight with a late free kick, but the ball scraped the post and the Dons were glad to hear the final whistle. After such a great start this was a sore result to take in the end.

Celtic Teamsheet
Douglas, Laursen (Crainey 72), Valgaeren, Balde, Sylla, Petrov (Maloney 72), Thompson (Fernandez 72), Guppy, Sutton, Hartson, Larsson. Unused Subs: Gould, Smith
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Preece, Rutkiewicz (Billio 74), Anderson, McGuire, McAllister, Young, Bisconti (Mike 66), Deloumeaux, Young (Tiernan 66), Michie, Fabiano.

Unused Subs: Peat, O'Donoghue.

Bookings:  McGuire (29),  Bisconti (42),  McAllister (70).
Attendance: 58,526
Venue: Celtic Park, Glasgow
Referee: Hugh Dallas, Motherwell