Brendan Rodgers praised his table-topping Celtic side for putting behind them the “pain” of their midweek thrashing by Atletico Madrid with a symmetrical 6-0 dismantling of a dismal Aberdeen in the Scottish Premiership.
There was no evidence of Celtic feeling any pressure from Rangers’ earlier win away to Livingston, which narrowed the gap at the top to five points, as the hosts eased to a ninth consecutive win over the Dons.
Celtic all but settled the game within the opening 16 minutes following a Yang Hyun-jun header and tap-in from Kyogo Furuhashi, who later departed with a head injury following an aerial challenge from Slobodan Rubezic.
Aberdeen were rarely seen as an attacking force, never mind one that was likely to stretch their unbeaten run to four games.
The biggest surprise was that it took Celtic until the 77th minute to extend their lead through Luis Palma’s penalty, with David Turnbull and Oh Hyeon-gyu – twice – adding the gloss in stoppage time.
“I said beforehand there was pain in the week,” Rodgers told BBC Scotland. “But good teams always take the opportunity to bounce back quick and I thought we did that.
“We started well, scored some wonderful goals and could have had more – the goalkeeper had a couple of wonderful saves. Some of the movement and combination play was excellent.”
Aberdeen manager Barry Robson had made four changes, only one of them forced, as he looked to introduce fresh legs into a side who battled to a brave 2-2 draw away to POAK in the Europa Conference League on Thursday.
However, it was one of the two new faces introduced by Rodgers following his side’s 6-0 Champions League thumping by Atletico Madrid that lit up the early stages.
Yang was the beneficiary of Daizen Maeda’s absence through injury and the South Korea forward immediately started weaving patterns round the mesmerised Dons defence.
When he threaded through to Kyogo, the normally deadly Japan striker had his shot parried by goalkeeper Kelle Roos into the path of Matt O’Riley, who also somehow missed the target.
Celtic would not be denied for long as Roos failed to cut out Palma’s driven cross and Yang had the simple task of nodding into the unguarded net after only nine minutes for his first Celtic goal.
Yang turned provider seven minutes later as he flicked through to O’Riley, whose low ball to the front post was directed home by the toes of Kyogo.
Jonny Hayes, the former Celtic wing-back given a start by Robson, did slice wastefully wide as he failed to capitalise on a rare break up the other end, but the traffic continued towards Roos, who saved well from both Odin Holm and Palma.
Visiting centre-half Rubezic was lucky to only be shown yellow for the headed challenge on Kyogo that forced the groggy Celtic striker to be replaced shortly after the break.
Aberdeen’s first attempt on target arrived after 59 minutes as Robson finally tweaked his formation, but Bojan Miovski’s front-post flick was straight at goalkeeper Joe Hart.
However, the roof fell in for Aberdeen after Jack MacKenzie was adjudged to have fouled Oh as the striker shot 12 yards out and winger Palma slotted powerfully from the spot.
There was still time for Turnbull to fire in off the post and Oh to head home a superb Palma cross.
Player of the match – Yang Hyun-jun (Celtic)
Rodgers proved right, Robson wrong – analysis
Rodgers said before kick-off he was confident there would be no hangover from the midweek hammering and that it was a good opportunity to hand Holm his first league start.
He was right on both counts, with the 20-year-old Norwegian strolling it in midfield – and on his prediction that Yang would prove a lively replacement for Maeda.
It is now 50 home league matches without defeat – and this was one of Celtic’s easiest victories during that spell.
For Aberdeen, the stats are damning. Less than 25% possession, seven visits to Celtic Park without a goal, 23 games without a win over the Glasgow side.
Robson can point to his squad having two fewer days of recovery from their European exertions than their hosts.
However, that is the burden that group-stage qualification brings, and the Dons manager has still to find a way to cope. Parking the bus is not working.
What they said
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers: “Performance level is improving all the time The cohesion and synchronisation of the team is getting better and I thought the players were fantastic dealing with that game in midweek.
“The intensity was impressive, the guys who started gave us a good base and the guys coming into the game finished it off very well for us. We’ve made a very good start, but I will always demand more. We have to be hungry to improve.”
Aberdeen manager Barry Robson: “Not good enough – every aspect. That’s from me, the staff, everyone.
“We never started the game well. First 15 minutes, poor, not getting close to anyone. Second half, we got them in, told them to get a bit closer to them. We got a bit closer to them for 15 minutes, but after that, we weren’t good enough.”
Celtic entertain Motherwell on Saturday, 25 November (15:00 GMT), while Aberdeen host Rangers the following day (12:00).
- 3TaylorSubstituted forBernabéiat 78′minutes
- 42McGregorSubstituted forIwataat 81′minutes
- 15HolmSubstituted forTurnbullat 53′minutes
- 13YangSubstituted forForrestat 78′minutes
- 8FuruhashiSubstituted forOhat 52′minutes
- 28Gonçalves Bernardo
- 24RoosBooked at 76mins
- 33RubezicBooked at 51mins
- 21PolvaraSubstituted forDuncanat 78′minutes
- 4ShinnieSubstituted forBarronat 81′minutes
- 17HayesBooked at 15minsSubstituted forHenriques de Barros Lopesat 81′minutes
- 11Henriques de Barros Lopes
- William Collum
Match ends, Celtic 6, Aberdeen 0.
Second Half ends, Celtic 6, Aberdeen 0.
Goal! Celtic 6, Aberdeen 0. Oh Hyeon-Gyu (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Matt O’Riley following a fast break.
Foul by James Forrest (Celtic).
Richard Jensen (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Goal! Celtic 5, Aberdeen 0. Oh Hyeon-Gyu (Celtic) header from very close range to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Luis Palma with a cross.
Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Stefan Gartenmann.
Attempt missed. James Forrest (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Matt O’Riley.
Goal! Celtic 4, Aberdeen 0. David Turnbull (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Luis Palma.
Attempt blocked. Matt O’Riley (Celtic) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Luis Palma with a cross.
Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Nicky Devlin.
Alexandro Bernabéi (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Leighton Clarkson (Aberdeen).
Attempt missed. Alistair Johnston (Celtic) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Tomoki Iwata.
Substitution, Celtic. Tomoki Iwata replaces Callum McGregor.
Substitution, Aberdeen. Duk replaces Jonny Hayes.
Substitution, Aberdeen. Connor Barron replaces Graeme Shinnie.
Substitution, Aberdeen. Ryan Duncan replaces Dante Polvara.
Substitution, Celtic. Alexandro Bernabéi replaces Greg Taylor.
Substitution, Celtic. James Forrest replaces Yang Hyun-Jun.