A twin dynamic framed the flailing Celtic delivered at Pittodrie yesterday. The Scottish champions were ravenous in their bloodlust. Aberdeen, in contrast, were rancid through proving so anemic.
READ MORE - Rangers ace eyed by four EPL clubs, Celtic star wanted to replace £80m signing, ex-Celtic hero in row with Rangers legend's wife, Hibs boss responds to pressure - Scottish Premiership Rumour Mill
Yet, even if babies have put up greater resistance to being relieved of their candy than Aberdeen could muster as Neil Lennon’s side slammed four past them inside the opening 45 minutes, that should not detract from another stunning showing from the Scottish champions.
Much chatter was given to the potential implications for Celtic of bouncing into so hazardous a fixture on the back of a victory over Lazio on Thursday that had pushed them to their very limits. Ultimately, though, that may actually have played for them. The tempo, intensity and application demanded of them against the Serie A side was what they brought to bear in blowing away Derek McvInnes’ men. Quicksilver in their movement and passing, Aberdeen looked like they were simply bystanders - and they were, with their manager withering about their lack of contact and aggression - because such pace, power and precision reduced them to this lowly status.
Lennon has had many thunderous weeks across five years service as Celtic manager in two spells, but 10 goals in two league routs that bookended an outstanding Europa League success puts this latest period in the highest bracket.
Especially since his judgement calls underpinned an almighty lancing. It could have been considered high risk to make only one unenforced change - Jeremie Frimpong replacing Hatem Abd Elhamed. Not least because a similar strategy had been questioned when they lost at Livingston at the start of the month immediately after a Europa League victory at home to Cluj. Avoiding the same pitfalls may have played its part in a whirlwind start that had them two goals up and cruising inside 15 minutes.
"We played well against Lazio on Thursday but we remembered what happened the last time after a European game when we lost at Livingston,” said Elyounoussi of Celtic’s first away league win in three attempts. “Every team in the league wants to win against Celtic. Every game is tough. Aberdeen had fresh legs and we knew that it would be difficult. The Livingston game was in the back of our heads but we just wanted to win and do our best. We wanted to show a reaction today and that was a professional performance. We carried out our gameplan and executed it well. We scored nice goals and controlled it.”
The fecklessness of Aberdeen - commanding in their 3-0 thumping away to Motherwell only last weekend - was unmistakeable in the 11th minute oponer from Eduoard, that also owed much to his balletic grace. The Frenchman played a one-two with Forrest and simply glided through an Aberdeen backline wherein Mikey Devlin and Scott McKenna left looking like cones on training pitch before he casually slotted into the right-hand corner for a 12th goal of an electric season.
The powerpuff nature of the home side’s attempts to repell their rampant opponents were betrayed again when Frimpong was doubled Celtic’s advantage four minutes later. Driving forward after chesting the ball down wide on the right, he rode a lazy challenge from Niall McGinn before slipping the ball to Eduoard. His cut-back from the byline deflected off Shay Logan and forced a save from Joe Lewis but, despite being sandwiched by the full-back and Scott McKenna, the Dutch teenager was first to react poked the ball over the line.
The pattern continued, Celtic attacking at will, Aberdeen failing to show willing, and the inevitalbe result of more punishment for the home side came with a 28th minute third. Elyounoussi danced his way into the box, tried to turn with foot on the ball and merely held it up for Forrest to nip in and finish. The Norwegian then got his fourth when allowed to chest down and hook and stinging drive high in the net from the edge of the six-yard box.
Aberdeen, who allowed Kristoffer Ajer the freedom of Pittodrie to maurade forward at will, somehow escaped further humiliation, but as eggregious as any element to a home support in ferment was that their team did not produce one single effort on target.
On the back of a 5-0 mauling at Ibrox, the inability to compete yesterday must be a troubling sign to McInnes that his team is experiencing a serious regression. It may not have helped that he was without ball-winner Lewis Ferguson yesterday through suspension, but there are no mitigating circumstances for a meekness that condemned them to a seven straight defeat against Celtic at Pittodrie, and their heaviest losss in the fixture at their home ground since a 5-1 in 2008.
“We know that if we play well and Celtic are at their best, we can lose but I don’t expect to lose like this,” said the exasperated Aberdeen manager. “All week I’ve expected us to be far better than we were but from 2-0 the game was done and the confidence was gone. The biggest issue for me was a lack of contact, a lack of tackles, a lack of determination.”