Celtic 3 Aberdeen 0: McGeady puts Celtic on song for Europe

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The Independent Football

The last time Celtic faced Shakhtar Donetsk, Aiden McGeady could not even get a starting place but there will be little chance of Gordon Strachan keeping him on the bench on Wednesday when the Ukrainians come to Glasgow on Champions' League duty.

McGeady, the matchwinner against Benfica last month, scored a sublime goal and truly bewildered Aberdeen as Celtic maintained their leadership of the Scottish Premier League. "Aiden was flawless and if we play like that against Shakhtar, we have a chance of winning," said Strachan.

Celtic subjected Jimmy Calderwood's side to unceasing pressure in the first half. The goalkeeper, Jamie Langfield, prevented Aberdeen from being cast adrift with a series of fine saves. When Langfield touched a low shot from Aiden McGeady wide of the post, it was a preview of the type of effort that would subsequently beat him.

Zander Diamond aided Langfield in the 13th minute by bravely blocking Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink's shot at the expense of a corner, but from Scott Brown's delivery, Jiri Jarosik rose to head the ball towards goal and Vennegoor of Hesselink glanced the ball beyond Langfield.

Just two minutes later, Langfield repelled another attempt by Scott McDonald and then the keeper eclipsed that save by beating away Brown's venomous drive. Jarosik then joined the feeding frenzy by grazing the top of Langfield's crossbar with a dipping 35-yard shot.

The siege delivered a second goal for the champions in the 27th minute and it was one of beauty. McGeady, who was tormenting Richie Byrne, profited from a decoy run by McDonald and cut inside past his marker before thrashing a left-foot finish from the edge of the box that kissed the post on its way into the net.

Celtic's appetite for goals was not sated. They stretched their lead further in the 49th minute. McDonald peeled into space to gather a fine pass from Brown, after a surging run from the midfielder, and tried to round Langfield. Again the goalkeeper denied him but the ball then spilled from Langfield's grasp and McDonald pounced to drill his shot into the net.

There was no respite. Jarosik ought to have scored Celtic's fourth but somehow planted his diving header wide. Langfield then produced his best with a sublime double save from McGeady and Vennegoor of Hesselink.

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