Celtic 9-0 Aberdeen: Atrocious Dons suffer biggest defeat in club history

Stokes (pen) 26, pen 45, 74; Hooper 28, 33, 63; Magennis (og) 61; Ledley 71; McCourt (pen) 85

• Opening salvo: When Anthony Stokes netted the first from the spot, no-one could have predicted a further eight would follow as the Dons capitulated. Photograph: PA

The environment of the SPL is bonkers. We know this. It is a league of infinite madness, a place were all sorts of lunatics are let out of the asylum for 90 minutes on a Saturday afternoon. All of them were wearing red here. Red jerseys, red faces.

Of course, we must give credit to Celtic for taking a sledgehammer to the modern day record books, we must salute their clinical finishing and their impressive cruelty in refusing to ease up on the walking dead that had travelled down from the north, but at the same time we should blast these pitiful Dons to the high heavens.

Their manager, Mark McGhee, tried to stick up for them, but to say they were pathetic falls lamentably short in describing how abject they were. What they produced was an insult to their fans and their history. Their grasp of the concept of character in adversity was non-existent. They were a disgrace.

Even by its own standards to shock and amaze, the SPL became a parody of itself at Celtic Park. You couldn't have made up what happened here. Four goals to the good at the break, including two penalties, five up just after the hour, six on the board a few minutes later, then two more put past Jamie Langfield inside a minute, one a feeble shot from distance that dribbled in, the other an own goal. And before the end, a third penalty and a ninth goal.

A hat-trick for Gary Hooper, a hat-trick for Anthony Stokes. In the closing minutes, you'd have gone short odds on a tenth goal going in and you'd have said that the scorer was as likely to be a punch drunk Don sticking one into his own net as a Celt.

McGhee's grip on the reins at Pittodrie wasn't exactly vice-like before this game - his team have got four points from their last 27 - but his control is as limp as hell now. He asked his team for a reaction to the loss at St Mirren last weekend - and this is what he got.

God help us, but this is what football has become, this is how twisted it can be. Players as moral arbiters, sitting in judgement on their boss. McGhee wanted to write himself into the Pittodrie annals as a manager just as he had done as a player and in a sense he's done it.

Aberdeen's worst ever defeat before this was 8-0 to Celtic in 1965. History made, then. Sad, but true. On Tuesday, the Dons face Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Will McGhee be in charge? Will he survive to take charge of his team for their trip to Ibrox on Saturday? Everything is up in the air now.

It was a surreal day in many senses. It's almost laughable to recall, but Aberdeen should have taken the lead inside 20 minutes. They had two cracks at it; Chris Maguire delayed a shot and allowed Fraser Forster to make a save and then, from the ensuing corner, Scott Vernon's header was nutted off the line by Niall McGinn. Merry hell descended on the occasion thereafter.

From a Ki Sung Yeung shot, Paul Hartley inexplicably handled the ball in the penalty area and got sent off. Stokes tucked away the spot kick. Three minutes later, Hooper took a pass from Stokes and shrugged off Zander Diamond's feeble challenge to make it two.

Just after the half-hour, from a McGinn cross and more terrible defending from Diamond, Hooper fired in the third. Celtic Park was now beside itself with glee.

Just before half-time, Thomas Rogne became the second player to walk for supposedly denying Maguire a goal-scoring opportunity. It was a doubtful call and the locals let referee Alan Muir know it. They let him know about not getting rid of Jamie Langfield also.

The Aberdeen goalkeeper brought down Shaun Maloney for the second penalty, and Celtic's fourth goal of the half, and was shown a yellow card, entirely the wrong colour as far as Celtic people were concerned.

Pity Muir. He walked off at the break to a noisy protest from the home fans, several hundred of whom had staged a protest outside Hampden earlier in the day against the Scottish Football Association and refereeing standards, and a vociferous appeal by Langfield, who clearly felt the penalty was given in error. What the referee did in the privacy of his dressing room at half-time is anybody's guess, but had he allowed himself a medicinal slug from a bottle of brandy then you wouldn't have blamed him. Two penalties, two red cards and four goals. And another 45 minutes to come.

The second spell was easy on him, though. Aberdeen made it that way. Josh Magennis headed in an own goal to bring the score to five, then in virtually the blink of an eye Hooper claimed his hat-trick, heading in easily at the back post.

The nightmare got worse for the Dons. Joe Ledley got the seventh, then Maguire gave it away hopelessly for Stokes to complete his own hat-trick. Celtic Park resembled a bearpit now.

The ninth went in courtesy of a penalty, when young Ryan Jack fouled Maloney. Stokes stepped aside this time and allowed Paddy McCourt to take it, the substitute firing past Langfield.

"It was a brilliant performance," said Celtic manager Neil Lenon. "It's done our goal difference a power of good, it's done the players a power of good. Four-up at half-time, we just asked them to go out and win the second half as well.

"They were ruthless. It would have been easy for them to take their foot off the pedal, but they went out and put in another five. They're playing with a lot of confidence."

We waited for McGhee and he duly arrived, not in resignation mood, but determined to fight on. He used words like "embarrassing" and "nightmare".

He said it was a "horrible experience". What he didn't say was that he'd had enough of it. The journey back to Aberdeen would have been a long one. You just wonder what Stewart Milne and Willie Miller are thinking right now.

CELTIC

Forster

Cha Du-Ri

Majstorovic

Rogne

Izaguirre

McGinn (46)

Ledley

Ki (76)

Maloney

Stokes

Hooper (68)

Subs used

Hooiveld (46)

McCourt (68)

Juarez (76)

MAN OF THE MATCH

Gary Hooper (Celtic)

Looks like a natural goalscorer and a bit of a bargain for Neil Lennon.

TALKING POINT

Mark McGhee. Will he stay or will he go?

Referee: A Muir. Attendance: 46,446

ABERDEEN

Langfield

Robertson

Diamond

McArdle

Jack

Mackie

Folly

Hartley

Aluko (35)

Maguire

Vernon (58)

Subs used

Young (35)

Magennis (58)