Aberdeen have been left to lick their wounds at Hampden again after a comfortable 2-0 win for Celtic in Scottish Cup semi-final action.
First-half goals from Ryan Christie and Mohamed Elyounoussi brought about a sense of inevitability that Celtic would achieve victory. Whilst the holders did take their foot off the gas in the second half, the first did all the damage, Hearts waiting for Celtic now in the final.
Derek McInnes and his side have been here before at Hampden against the Hoops. They’ve suffered multiple semi-final and final defeats in recent seasons and were eager to avoid another disappointment.
Off the back of a 3-3 draw with Celtic last weekend, there was hope this could be Aberdeen’s moment. It became an uphill task very early on though as the holders hit the net twice.
Former Don Christie scored a stunner to put Neil Lennon’s team ahead. Standing outside the 18-yard box, he curled a beautiful effort beyond Joe Lewis. Five minutes later on the 23rd minute it was 2-0, Tom Rogic’s deep cross to the backpost bundled in by Elyounoussi.
Aberdeen were left shell-shocked as Celtic took full control of Hampden proceedings. In 23 devastating minutes, their hopes of a final meeting with Hearts next month looked beyond them.
Sam Cosgrove missed a chance early in the second half on his first start of the season, perhaps missing his usual sharp instincts. But overall, the domestically dominant Hoops were controlling this tie.
The Dons did have a brighter spell towards the final 10 minutes, but again failed to create clear opportunities as a cup exit beckoned. Here are three things we learned on a disappointing day for the Pittodrie side.
Mountain to climb
When Elyounoussi notched Celtic’s second of the afternoon, this game looked like a foregone conclusion, despite only 23 minutes being played. They had been blown away by Celtic early on.
It gave them a mountain to scale and against a Celtic team firing on all cylinders, that’s borderline impossible.
A familiar feeling
This was the eighth time under McInnes that Aberdeen have lost either a semi-final or a final. They haven’t had much luck at Hampden, McInnes’ trophy tally remaining at one after his 2014 League Cup success.
Again that sinking feeling of defeat on the big stage was upon them. Even after eight times, it doesn’t get any easier.
The wait goes on
Dons supporters are eager for success in Scotland’s major domestic cup. The last time they won this competition was 1990 as their glory years during the 80s and early 90s came to a close.
Plenty of opportunities have presented themselves to rectify that for Aberdeen but at Hampden this time around, it’s another case of what could have been.