5 things we learned from Aberdeen 0 - 3 Celtic

Analysis from Joel Sked as Celtic ease past Aberdeen into the William Hill Scottish Cup final where they will meet Hearts.

Celtic have reached the Scottish Cup final. Picture: SNS
Celtic have reached the Scottish Cup final. Picture: SNS


Once again Derek McInnes entrusted his players with the responsibility of man-marking their opponents all across the pitch. It is something they are used to when facing the Old Firm, in particular Celtic. For more than 35 minutes they did an excellent job, frustrating their opponents. The attacking trio of Connor McLennan, Stevie May and Greg Stewart worked diligently and supported the young midfield duo of Lewis Ferguson and Dean Campbell.

The only space Celtic were finding was when one of the centre-backs stepped out from the back, forcing Aberdeen into a decision: close the defender down and leave the player they are marking free or allow the defender to progress. The closest Celtic came was when Jozo Simunovic tested Joe Lewis from distance with Aberdeen taking the latter option.

Yet, it was Celtic who would show themselves to have the greater discipline. While Aberdeen were losing theirs, Neil Lennon's men were keeping their head. Probing patiently before taking their chance. It was helped by a moment of magic from James Forrest who had managed to create space for himself away from Max Lowe before bending in an unstoppable strike from outside the box.


The most popular phrase on Scottish football Twitter during and after the game had to be 'head's gone'. That's exactly what happened with Aberdeen.

As soon as Dom Ball was rightfully shown a red card for a gruesome clash of heads with Ryan Christie there was only going to be one winner.

Fans are quite right to look back to the Betfred Cup final when Dedryck Boyata was late on Gary Mackay-Steven in the Celtic box, clashing heads. Remarkably no penalty was given.

That being said, it is in the past and after the interval Aberdeen slowly unravelled. There was the awful positioning of Mikey Devlin leading to the penalty which saw Celtic take a 2-0 lead before Lewis Ferguson, who had put in a good performance until that point, put in a shocking tackle on Tom Rogic to earn the Dons' second red card.

At half time assistant manager Tony Docherty was sent to the stands and he was followed by Derek McInnes after the break.


That's now eight games unbeaten for Neil Lennon. Even with a couple of goalless draws in the run it is an excellent return.

Helped by the Ball red card in the first half, it was arguably the side's most convincing victory under the Northern Irishman even if they are still to find that fluidity and style that was there during Brendan Rodgers' reign.

But what they do know how to do, better than most, is win.

It is aided by the matchwinners running through the team. None more so than James Forrest. His goal was the latest in a show-reel of big moments. It took him to 17 for the season and equals last season's return.

The way he collected the ball, shimmied before thumping in a screamer was reminiscent of Tom Rogic, who himself came off the bench to replace Ryan Christie.

Celtic are loaded with matchwinning talent. The Australian gave fans a reminder of what he can produce in the second half.

The jury may still be out on Lennon as Celtic manager long term, but there is no question about the quality in the final third which will likely help the team towards the Treble Treble.

Graeme Shinnie

Sunday afternoon's game gave Aberdeen fans an idea of what it may be like next season. Captain Graeme Shinnie was missing and it looks, if pictures are to believed, he will be leaving the club for Derby County.

Dean Campbell and Lewis Ferguson had a combined age of 37 in the centre of the park. They followed instructions well but there was no question Shinnie was a huge miss.

The way he can eat up ground, hunt opponents and provide the drive from the middle to the front, that is hard to replace.

It may have painted a bleak future so Dons fans should enjoy Shinnie as much as they can between now and the end of the season in the race for third place.

Sectarianism... again

Once again the issue of sectarian chanting has reared its head. McInnes' dismissal was due to a gesture towards the Celtic fans as they sang about the Dons boss being a "sad orange b*****d".

It is a very similar song to one sung at Steven Gerrard by Aberdeen fans and at Kris Boyd by Celtic fans. While Steve Clarke hit out at Rangers fans earlier in the campaign for having "sad Fenian b*****d" chanted at him.

It is a problem within Scottish football. Everyone knows it and what happens is not surprising in the slightest.

However, it has to be brought up every time it happens. The point hammered home until something changes.