Dons undone by Hoops
Mowbray's men off to a winning start
Last Updated: 15/08/09 3:12pm
McGeady: Bagged a brace
Celtic started the new season with a bang as they secured an impressive 3-1 victory at Aberdeen.
The Hoops are desperate to wrestle the SPL title back from Old Firm rivals Rangers and made the best possible start on the opening day of the 2009/10 campaign.
A first half double from Aiden McGeady, and another from Scott McDonald, helped to ensure that a spectacular strike from Sone Aluko was nothing more than a consolation.
Celtic dominated from the off at Pittodrie and it came as no surprise when they opened the scoring after 29 minutes.
Marc-Antoine Fortune did well down the left, forcing the ball into the middle, and McGeady was on hand from six yards out to poke home.
Three minutes before the interval it was two as McGeady showed good footwork on the edge of the box before unleashing an unstoppable curling effort into the top corner.
The Hoops sealed the points moments before the interval when some sloppy Aberdeen defending allowed McDonald to pick his spot from close range.
Aluko did pull one back for the Dons with a dipping volley just after the hour-mark, but it was not enough to prevent Mark McGhee's side from slipping to defeat.
Such was Celtic's supremacy early on that the game was over by half-time, and the shocked Aberdeen fans were not slow to voice their discontent.
Rarely could Celtic have dominated a first 45 minutes so much at Pittodrie as they did on this, the opening day of the season.
Celtic passed up on the first chance of the game in the third minute after Danny Fox's high cross from the left had been punched by Dons goalkeeper Jamie Langfield to the feet of McDonald.
The Australian striker took a decent touch but fired his shot from 14 yards high over the bar.
Then McGeady worked a one-two with McDonald before he drove well wide of the target from the edge of the box.
But in the 29th minute the visitors took the lead through McGeady, although there was an element of luck about the goal.
As Celtic broke with purpose, the Republic of Ireland player fed Shaun Maloney who in turn fed Fortune on the left side of the box.
His angled shot was blocked by Langfield but it rebounded off the Frenchman and looped into the six-yard box where McGeady, who had continued his run, bundled the ball over the line.
McGhee replaced defender Stuart Duff with Darren Mackie in the 38th minute in what appeared to be an act of mercy.
But it only precipitated a second goal from McGeady three minutes from the break and this time it was a goal of quality, the midfielder curling in a delightful shot from 20 yards after taking an Andreas Hinkel pass.
McGhee's side were in meltdown and there was time for Celtic to grab a third, when Richard Foster failed to clear a Fortune cross and McDonald gleefully slammed the ball in from around 10 yards.
The Parkhead side continued their dominance after the break, with the pace and urgency that had characterised their first-half performance.
Perhaps with one eye on Tuesday's UEFA Champions League qualifier against Arsenal, Mowbray replaced Glenn Loovens with Scott Brown and moved Massimo Donati back to defence.
In the 56th minute Fortune should have scored his first Celtic goal since his move from Nancy in the summer when Hinkel, linked with Hull, set the ball up at the back post with a perfect cross but the Frenchman headed wide.
In the 61st minute, and out of the blue, Aberdeen were offered a glimmer of hope when Aluko reduced the deficit.
Substitute Michael Paton, on for Chris Maguire, sent in a cross which was laid off by Gary McDonald and Aluko controlled the ball in textbook fashion on his chest before sending a dipping volley from 16 yards over Artur Boruc.
Any chance of a comeback, however, quickly dissipated as Celtic regained control.
In the 80th minute Dons defender Zander Diamond was taken off on a stretcher with a head injury after clashing with his own player, Mark Kerr, as he leapt to make a clearance.
Moments later, as Celtic relaxed, Fox cleared Gary McDonald's effort off the line before the Aberdeen midfielder cleared the bar with a shot.
In the 86th minute McGeady forced Langfield to make a fine save from his left-footed drive while there was a late worry for Celtic when Maloney took a knock and had to come off following a challenge by Foster.