Celtic 7 Aberdeen 0

A sensational performance from Welsh international John Hartson and a devastating display on the whole from Celtic allowed Martin O'Neill's side to keep pace with league leaders Rangers at the top of the SPL.

Hartson found the net on no fewer than four occasions to ensure his manager has plenty to think about as regards his front line selection in the coming weeks.

Henrik Larsson got his name on the scoresheet just once as did centre half Bobo Balde and late substitute Shaun Maloney. All this was done without Johan Mjallby, Paul Lambert and Neil Lennon.

The match started at an even pace with neither side looking particularly dominant.

Chris Sutton threatened early on with a 30-yard effort that sailed narrowly over while Derek Young went close at the other end, Robert Douglas blocking his effort.

But then in the 25th minute Celtic went ahead. Steve Guppy raced clear down the left and his deep cross found Hartson at the far post who rose high to head an unstoppable effort past David Preece.

Alan Thompson fired a free kick straight at Preece minutes later before Hartson doubled Celtic's lead. Larsson ran on to a great Guppy pass and squared for the Welsh striker to finish with ease.

Thompson again went close in the 40th minute when his shot from the edge of the area rebounded off the post and wide.

But just two minutes later the game was put beyond doubt when Larsson's 25-yard free kick flew into the corner of the net after Roberto Bisconti had stupidly felled Chris Sutton.

After the break it was more of the same for Celtic, Hartson grabbing his third and Celtic's fourth in the 50th minute. Thompson lobbed the ball back across goal after Aberdeen had failed to clear a corner and Hartson peeled off at the back post to fire home.

Balde scored number five - a powerful, swerving shot from the edge of the box before Hartson scored again just ten minutes later. This time he fired home a low right-foot shot from 12 yards.

Substitute Maloney completed proceedings with a great 86th minute free kick which curled high into the top right-hand corner of the net