Neil Lennon’s Celtic side are through to the Scottish Cup Final after a 4-0 win over Craig Brown’s Aberdeen side. Four second half goals from Charlie Mulgrew, Joe Ledley, Kris Commons and Shaun Maloney,comfortably saw Celtic through to face Motherwell in the Final. It was another demolition at the hands of Celtic, who have scored 21 goals against Aberdeen this season, with only one goal in reply out of five games. Celtic’s victory exorcised the demons that haunted Neil Lennon after last season’s defeat to Ross County, and also put to bed a long standing statistic of 44 years without a victory for Celtic over the Dons in the Scottish Cup.
[singlepic id=1016 w=320 h=240 float=left]Before the match kicked off, the Dons fans unfurled a banner, condemning the early afternoon kick off, and that Fans should be first before TV.
The atmosphere from both sides was electric as the fans cheered their respective sides onto the Hampden pitch. However the stadium was far from full with around 20,000 seats left empty, a sizeable chunk in the Aberdeen end.
Just five minutes into the game and Celtic had a great chance to open the scoring. Good play from Commons down the left, saw the former Derby winger send a teasing cross into the Aberdeen box for Anthony Stokes to get his head onto it, but he could not direct it on target as it went narrowly wide.
Three minutes later, Aberdeen had their first chance on goal through Josh Magennis. Former Don Charlie Mulgrew had fouled Scott Vernon on the half way line, the resulting free kick saw the ball delivered into the Celtic box and cleared, only to find its way to Magennis who shot low and wide of Forster’s goal.
The game was open-ended, with both teams passing the ball well, but neither could deliver in the final third.
On 12 minutes, Anthony Stokes again had a great chance to give Celtic the lead when he was put through one on one with Jamie Langfield, but the keeper did enough to knock the ball out for a corner.
Two minutes later Aberdeen could have made Celtic pay for their early missed chances. Sone Aluko sent in a ball from the left flank which was met by the head of Scott Vernon who headed over.
[singlepic id=1036 w=320 h=240 float=left]On 17 minutes Aberdeen were down to ten men. A superb through ball from Scott Brown teed Gary Hooper up for a shot, but before he could unleash his shot Andrew Considine brought the Celtic striker down and referee Willie Collum pointed to the spot, before showing the Dons defender a straight red card.
Stokes stepped up to take the resulting penalty but his shot was poor and Langfield saved it, before the ball was knocked out for a corner.
Stokes then had another chance, as he picked up a pass from Hooper on the left-wing. But the former Hibs striker’s shot was saved by Langfield, before the Dons defence once again cleared the threat.
In the final five minutes of the First Half, Celtic upped their game as they looked for the opening goal, however both teams went in at the break all square.
During the break, the Celtic fans unfurled a banner, which mirrored the sentiments of the Dons fans before the start of the game, saying ‘It’s time to put fans before TV’.
Into the Second Half, and Celtic threatened the Dons goal once again. A great one-two on the edge of the box between Hooper and Stokes,saw the former Scunthorpe striker sent through on goal, but he took one too many touches and fired straight at the keeper from a tight angle.
[singlepic id=1059 w=320 h=240 float=left]However Celtic didn’t have to wait long for the opening goal and it was a somewhat fortuitous effort. Rob Milsom crudely fouled Israeli midfielder Beram Kayal, resulting in a booking for the Dons man. Mulgrew took the resulting free kick and with Langfield expecting someone to get a head onto the ball, he could only dive despairingly as the ball rippled the back of the net.
The goal seemed to have lifted a massive burden off the Celtic players shoulders and the game began to open up more.
On 55 minutes Aberdeen had the ball in the back of the net, a long punt up the field was headed into the path of Chris Maguire who slotted the ball past Fraser Forster, but the linesman had flagged Maguire offside. Replays showed that it was the right decision.
Straight away Celtic went up the park and the ball was played into the box for Joe Ledley who guided the ball into the bottom right corner of the Dons goal.
As Celtic and their fans celebrated, the Dons fans chanted ‘Cheats, Cheats, Cheats’ but few of them could have any complaints after watching the highlights when they eventually got back to the Granite City.
[singlepic id=1076 w=320 h=240 float=left]Celtic were then awarded a second penalty when Derek Young fouled Stokes in the box, with the ball looking as though it was heading out of play. Kris Commons was given the task of taking the penalty after Stokes’ first half miss, and the winger did not disappoint as he dispatched the ball into the back of the net, to make it 3-0 to Neil Lennon’s side.
With half an hour remaining, Celtic could have added a fourth. Anthony Stokes just beat the offside trap and beared towards goal, but rather than shooting himself he selflessly set up Kris Commons, but the midfielder somehow missed from six yards out sending the ball high over the bar. That miss was met by a chorus of mock ‘Sebo’ chants from Celtic fans, all done in good humour.
Aberdeen eventually had a shot on goal, their first in the second half. But despite some neat skills from Sone Aluko, he could not direct his shot on target and it went low and wide of the Celtic goal.
With six minutes remaining, Celtic extended their lead. A cross come shot from the left whizzed past the face of the Dons goal, only to be met by Mark Wilson who fired a shot off target and back across the goal, only for substitute Shaun Maloney to tap in from close range to finish the scoring and to give Celtic a Final score of 4-0.
Aberdeen: Langfield, Young (Vujadinovic 64), Considine, Diamond, Smith, Magennis (Blackman 60), Jack, Milsom, Aluko, Vernon (Paton 77), Maguire
Subs: Howard, Vujadinovic, Paton, Blackman, Robertson
Celtic: Forster, Wilson, Rogne, Mulgrew, Izaguirre, Brown, Kayal (McCourt 60), Ledley (Maloney 68), Commons, Stokes, Hooper (Majstorovic 79)
Subs: Zaluska, Majstorovic, Maloney, McCourt, Forrest
Referee: Willie Collum
Match Photographs by Vagelis Georgariou