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  • Super Celtic thump Dons to move six points clear

    Super Celtic thump Dons to move six points clear

    By: Mark Henderson on 01 Mar, 2015 14:14

  • Scottish Premiership
    Celtic Park, Glasgow
    Sunday, March 1, 2015

    (Denayer 37, Griffiths 63, Mackay-Steven 69, Johansen 80)


    A SENSATIONAL second-half showing saw Celtic run riot against Aberdeen to claim their 10th successive domestic success and cement their position at the league summit.

    Jason Denayer headed the Hoops ahead in scrappy first-half but Ronny Deila’s men clicked into top gear after the break, brushing aside the Dons with some blistering, attacking football.

    Leigh Griffiths doubled the advantage from the penalty spot just after the hour-mark after Stefan Johansen had been fouled by Mark Reynolds, before Gary Mackay-Steven bagged his first goal in Paradise.

    As Aberdeen’s resistance crumbled, Stefan Johansen swept in number four from Adam Matthews’ cutback as the champions delivered an emphatic statement in the title race, storming six points clear of Derek McInnes’ men, with a game in hand.

    Griffiths had recovered from injury that saw him miss the Inter Milan match on Thursday night to the lead the line for the Bhoys, with John Guidetti dropping to the bench.

    The inclusion of the in-form striker was one of three changes made by Ronny Deila from the team who took to the field in the San Siro.

    Kris Commons and Efe Ambrose also came into the starting XI at the expense of Stuart Armstrong and Emilio Izaguirre, who didn’t make the matchday squad.

    Griffiths didn’t take long to threaten, controlling a long ball and firing wide from the edge of the box. But it was the visitors who looked the sharper and carved out the best chances in the opening exchanges.

    Craig Gordon, outstanding once again against Inter three days earlier, had to be at his best to make a reflex save from Niall McGinn’s curling effort, the goalkeeper tipping it on to the bar and over.

    From the resultant corner, the loose ball dropped for Andrew Considine but he could only head over

    Former Celt McGinn and Johnny Hayes were seeing plenty of the ball on either flank for the visitors, sending in a series of crosses.

    However, some disciplined defending denied the Dons any clear opportunities, with a weak Adam Rooney header their only effort of note from these promising positions. 

    Gordon made a comfortable save from Ryan Jack’s shot but the game was now becoming scrappier as both teams cancelled one another out.

    However, a defensive mistake from Derek McInnes’ side helped the Hoops make the vital breakthrough. Goalkeeper Scott Brown’s poor clearance landed at the feet of Stefan Johansen.

    He drove forward and released Griffiths, whose shot forced the shot-stopper to turn the ball wide. When the corner was swung in from the left, Denayer rose highest to bullet a header into the net.

    Kenny McLean tested Gordon with a free-kick as half-time approached but that opening goal had galvanised Celtic and they ruthlessly wrestled control of the match after the interval.  
    Although defender Donervon Daniels flicked McGinn’s cross wide three minutes into the second half, from then on, it was all about the champions.

    Only a last-ditch challenge from Shay Logan denied Johansen after Armstrong had launched a breakaway, before Johansen failed to pick out an unmarked Griffiths in the box after racing clear.  

    Griffiths saw a shot saved by Brown following Bitton’s pass and the former Hibs hit-man then had the ball in the net but was denied by a late offside flag as gaps began to open up in the Dons rearguard.

    Jack blasted over in the box as the Pittodrie side tried to stem the side but the Hoops quickly raced up the field to bag the all-important second goal.

    Johansen was felled in the box by Reynolds and the referee pointed the spot. Griffiths stepped up and calmly slotted the penalty away.

    Johansen and Guidetti then came close, before Mackay-Steven added number three, driving through the middle and firing in via the post.

    Celtic in were in full flow now and the home crowd were lapping it up. Substitute John Guidetti found the side-netting with a rasping drive as the chances kept coming.

    With 10 minutes remaining on the clock, they inflicted more misery on the beleaguered away side as Johansen swept home Matthews’ centre.

    There could have been heavier punishment for Aberdeen as the Bhoys cut through the opposition defence at will in the closing stages and the visitors were relieved to the hear the final whistle as Celtic Park celebrated a thumping win.

    CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Gordon; Matthews, Denayer, van Dijk, Ambrose; Brown, Bitton; Commons (Armstrong 11, Stokes 74) Johansen, Mackay-Steven; Griffiths (Guidetti 63)
    Not Used: Zaluska, Wakaso, Forrest, Henderson

    ABERDEEN (4-2-3-1) Brown; Logan, Daniels, Reynolds, Considine; Flood, Jack, McLean; McGinn (Goodwillie 70), Rooney (Taylor 84) Hayes (Pawlett 33)
    Not Used: Langfield, Smith, Robson,Shaughnessy

    Website Man of the Match: Jason Denayer

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