Celtic are 90 minutes from a quadruple treble after easing past Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup semi-final for their 35th consecutive domestic cup win.
First-half goals by Ryan Christie and Mohamed Elyounoussi ensured that Neil Lennon’s side will be in the 20 December final against Hearts.
Aberdeen did come into the tie after the break, but rarely looked like denying Celtic a first victory in five.
The Pittodrie side have now lost eight in a row against Celtic at Hampden.
Not since 1992 have they beaten the Glasgow side at the national stadium. Seven games, a goal difference of 19-2.
Celtic had not lost a cup tie since 2016. Yet, they arrived at Hampden under a cloud. No wins in four and trailing by nine points in the league, albeit with two games in hand.
It was a fast start from both sides. Twice in the opening 10 minutes, Sam Cosgrove rose highest for a header in the box, but he could not direct either on target.
Odsonne Edouard got through the Aberdeen defence but goalkeeper Joe Lewis twice denied him with an instinctive double-save.
Then Ryan Hedges latched on to Scott Wright’s through-ball but took too long to shoot when he had the Celtic defence stretched as play swung from end to end.
A goal was coming, and it arrived in spectacular style. Christie drove inside, took a touch outside the box, then curled a wonderful left-foot shot away from the grasp of the outstretched Lewis.
Celtic turned the screw and soon it was 2-0. Tom Rogic sent a looping ball to the back post for Elyounoussi to knock in. A quarter of the game gone and the semi-final was looking done and dusted.
Aberdeen had a penalty shout when Scott Brown barged Cosgrove over at a corner kick, but referee Don Robertson admonished both and ordered the corner to be retaken.
Aberdeen’s main concern was that Celtic kept coming at them, with Lennon’s side determined to get a third that would finish it.
After Considine was robbed of possession, Ross McCrorie had to make a goal-saving challenge to deny Elynoussi. Then Aberdeen broke with a chance of their own but Cosgrove’s effort was weak.
But as the game wore on, Celtic looked heavy legged after a busy recent schedule, and Aberdeen started to get further forward.
Hedges and Lewis Ferguson failed to hit the target with efforts, and they had a half-hearted penalty shout when Marley Watkins went down under the challenge of Shane Duffy.
Matty Kennedy had a shot blocked as Aberdeen looked for the goal that would reignite their cup hopes but it never came, and their 30-year wait for a Scottish Cup triumph goes on.
Man of the match – Scott Brown
What did we learn?
Celtic had gone four without a win, but after spirited performances in the Europa League against AC Milan and Lille they showed they can still turn it on domestically.
Aberdeen have earned plaudits for their performances this season, but defensively they were opened up too easily and it’s seven goals conceded in their last three games.
What they said
Celtic manager Neil Lennon: “We played brilliant in the first half – outstanding and it could have been more. That’s just the follow on from Thursday night. It’s difficult for them to maintain that.
“They looked tired in the second half and that’s understandable, but it was a very comprehensive performance. It’s another cup final and I can’t ask any more of the players than that at the moment.”
Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes: “The better team period in the opening period won the game. We actually had some good moments to strike the first blow. If Sam Cosgrove had been a bit more match ready he might have took more of those chances. We had a lot of attacking players on the pitch, we tried to be as positive as we could.
“We’ve played Celtic here often enough and Joe Lewis has made save after save after save. It wasn’t that type of game. It’s a moment of brilliance and a moment of us being a bit slack with our work has cost us today.”
Celtic are back in Europa League action on Thursday when they host Sparta Prague (20:00 GMT), while Aberdeen have the chance to move third in the Premiership when they are at home to Hibernian on Friday (19:45).
- 93LaxaltBooked at 28mins
- 17ChristieSubstituted forElhamedat 73′minutes
- 18RogicSubstituted forNtchamat 84′minutes
- 27ElyounoussiSubstituted forAjetiat 73′minutes
- 22EdouardSubstituted forGriffithsat 73′minutes
- 14TaylorSubstituted forLeighat 64′minutes
- 19FergusonBooked at 50mins
- 33KennedySubstituted forMcGinnat 85′minutes
- 50WatkinsSubstituted forMainat 79′minutes
- 16CosgroveSubstituted forMcLennanat 64′minutes
- Don Robertson
Match ends, Celtic 2, Aberdeen 0.
Second Half ends, Celtic 2, Aberdeen 0.
Attempt missed. Lewis Ferguson (Aberdeen) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Connor McLennan.
Diego Laxalt (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Connor McLennan (Aberdeen).
Scott Brown (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Andrew Considine (Aberdeen).
Foul by Albian Ajeti (Celtic).
Connor McLennan (Aberdeen) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Jeremie Frimpong (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Ross McCrorie (Aberdeen).
Offside, Aberdeen. Connor McLennan tries a through ball, but Tommie Hoban is caught offside.
Substitution, Aberdeen. Niall McGinn replaces Matthew Kennedy.
Substitution, Celtic. Olivier Ntcham replaces Tomas Rogic.
Attempt missed. Tommie Hoban (Aberdeen) header from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Ryan Hedges with a cross following a set piece situation.
Foul by Shane Duffy (Celtic).
Scott Wright (Aberdeen) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Hatem Elhamed (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Scott Wright (Aberdeen).
Albian Ajeti (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.