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Celtic 5 Aberdeen 2: One way street

This was a day for The Celtic Way.

Kris Commons fires home the first of his two goals to give Celtic a 4-2 lead against Aberdeen at Celtic ParkPhotograph: SNS
Kris Commons fires home the first of his two goals to give Celtic a 4-2 lead against Aberdeen at Celtic ParkPhotograph: SNS

The Premiership champions cut the ribbon on the new walkway at the front of Parkhead yesterday afternoon and then proceeded to slash the Aberdeen defence to shreds to hammer home their superiority at the top of the table.

On a day of promotion and relegation drama across the country, Celtic were one of the few teams in Scotland with, their pride apart, little to play for on the penultimate weekend of top- flight action this term. The Hoops have shown no let-up in recent weeks as they look to finish with a flourish and they again proved their minds were not already on the sun, sea and sand that will await many of them, or the World Cup that a handful of Neil Lennon's squad will participate at this summer.

It was another swashbuckling performance from the Parkhead side and, while there were moments of angst as Aberdeen twice got themselves back into the match, Celtic were well worthy of their 5-2 win as Scott Brown and Kris Commons bagged doubles and Anthony Stokes netted for the 20th time this season.

"Aberdeen were going for it, they had to get something out of the game," Lennon said. "The gap between them and Motherwell now is one point so there was a lot more riding on the game for Aberdeen than there was for us. But it speaks volumes for the professionalism and quality in the team that they kept themselves going four, five weeks after winning the title."

Aberdeen may have secured Europa League football yesterday, but the battle to finish best of the rest this term is still a live issue and this was to prove no typical end of season affair. There was plenty to keep the crowd inside Celtic Park entertained during an end-to-end first half that saw a series of chances spurned and three goals, two of which came from Brown.

After Commons and Stokes had failed to find the target, it was the captain who showed them the route to goal with his first of the afternoon, spinning on the edge of the area after collecting Adam Matthews' pass and finishing well beyond Aberdeen keeper Jamie Langfield.

It was a move that showed the two main protagonists at their best, but while Brown would enjoy another high before the half was out, again receiving a pass from his right-back and finding the net after a neat dummy from Commons, the Welshman had a moment to forget as he played an unwanted role in the goal that briefly brought Aberdeen level. A weak pass towards Fraser Forster was intercepted by Niall McGinn and the forward made the most of Matthews' gift.

The Dons may not have been able to hold on until the break, nor avoid conceding a third shortly after it, but they continued to give as good as they got in an entertaining affair. Any hope they had of taking a point back to Pittodrie should have gone when Stokes netted, the striker taking advantage of sloppy defending from Derek McInnes's side to convert after Charlie Mulgrew's shot was blocked. But the visitors cut the deficit in style, Shaleum Logan bursting forward from left- back and finding the net from distance before celebrating with an acrobatic routine as the Dons believed once again.

It didn't take long for those hopes to be dashed, however, as Celtic once again found another gear and another goal. Aberdeen were left incensed when referee Iain Brines turned down a penalty claim after Jonny Hayes collided with Efe Ambrose. Their grievances were compounded just moments later when Commons added his name to the scoresheet following a swift move involving Stefan Johansen and Stokes.

"The pivotal moment in the game is at 3-2 and it is a penalty kick," McInnes said. "It is not only a penalty kick, Ambrose is the last man and they are down to 10 men. Celtic scored some good goals and have the quality to pick you off but, at 3-2, the momentum was with us.

"It could have been three, if we score the penalty and it is given right, and it is game on again."

There was to be no third attempt at a comeback for Aberdeen. McGinn did sting Forster's palms and Willo Flood cracked the keeper's post, but the task was too great. There was still time for the gap to increase once again, however, Commons completing his brace after a neat reverse pass from substitute Beram Kayal to put the champions' seal on another victory.

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