27 October, 2019 was the day it all came together. In particular the opening 45 minutes of Celtic’s 4-0 win against Aberdeen. Four goals and a first half dismantling of the Pittodrie side sent a message to Scottish football. Celtic meant business and were hitting peak form. 9-in-a-row was the goal.
Celtic had responded to a disappointing 2-0 defeat against Livingston at the Tony Macaroni stadium as winners do, by regrouping and drawing on their reserves of mental resilience, something Celtic had shown they had in abundance.
A 6-0 win against Ross County was the immediate response to any doubters, it alleviated concerns that a defeat could result in a loss of form and this was further confirmed when Lazio came to Celtic Park scored first and left with nothing. Christopher Jullien’s winning goal and an inspired Fraser Forster seeing off a fine Lazio side, with the added bonus of an undesirable visiting support sent home with their tails between their legs and their extreme politics in tow.
Confidence therefore was brimming as Celtic headed north for the 12.15 Kick off in the Granite City.
There would have been concerns of a European hangover and our opponents historically made for difficult opposition, but not that day. Celtic clicked and produced a breathtaking first half performance to be proud of.
Aberdeen were pegged back from the beginning and looked a tired side, this despite having a week free of fixtures whilst Celtic had had an exhausting Thursday night encounter against Lazio.
The goals came in quick succession through Odsonne Edouard, man of the match Jeremie Frimpong, James Forrest and finally Mohamed Elyounoussi.
Lennon had only made two changes to the side that defeated the Romans three days previously with Rogic in for the suspended Christie and Frimpong replacing Elhamed at right back.
Aberdeen were a goal down after only 10 minutes as Edouard strode through the weak attentions of Devlin and the little support offered by defensive partner McKenna. It was a fairly simple right footed past Joe Lewis in the Dons goal that brought the first score.
French Eddy and Frimpong linked again for number two just five minutes later, as the young infectious Jeremie scored his first goal for the club, bundling the ball across the goal line and looking just as pleased with himself as the support were with his efforts.
Simply Celtic were simply looking far superior to their opponents by now and halfway through the opening 45 minutes they’d held 80% possession over the Dons. Such statistics would be embarrassing enough for a side playing Celtic in Glasgow, never mind one that had been a challenger to Celtic in previous seasons and had a home crown behind them.
Some of that support were already making their way for the Pittodrie exit when Celtic extended their lead in the 36th minute, as Forrest to all intents and purposes walked the ball into the net following brilliant link up play with French Eddy.
There soon followed more Dons fans heading for the sanctuary of local pubs and darkened bedrooms when their weekend was ruined by Celtic’s fourth and final goal. Frimpong caused the panic in the Dons defence on this occasion at the edge of the box, before a Rogic cross was finished well by Elyounoussi.
Derek McInnes made two changes at the break replacing wide players – Connor McLennan and Niall McGinn – replaced them with Craig Bryson and Dean Campbell, in what looked like a damage limitation exercise. It could be said that worked but in reality Celtic rested in the second half, comfortable as they were that the game was won.
Despite a more relaxed approach from Lenny’s team Aberdeen still managed to end the game without managing a single shot on target. This was not the resistance Celtic would have expected to face from a side four goals behind at the break, but that first half performance had knocked the wind from their sails.
It was a display that would have been watched by many rivals expecting a lunchtime visit to the Granite City, on the back of a tiring European encounter, as an opportunity of a title race slip up from the Champions. Instead a statement of intent took place and it’s a result, as we look back on a season that delivered a record equalling ninth consecutive championship, as a vital as any in that campaign.
Celtic were simply head and shoulders above their opponents and even had the second half to conserve some energy.
In the following two weeks Celtic Defeated both St Mirren and Motherwell by two goals to nil, won 5-2 in the League Cup Semi-final at Hampden and defeated Lazio in Rome. Celtic were motoring and opponents were fearful. Turns out they were right to be concerned.