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Leaving out the loaners paying dividends

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It was a performance of unfettered gallus-ness from Celtic at Pittodrie yesterday as the champions finished off a perfect week by extending their lead at the top of the table, albeit by goal difference.

Derek McInnes must have pondered his wisdom in rejecting offers for Scott McKenna when Odsonne Edouard turned him left and right before sweeping a shot out of the reach of Joe Lewis to open the scoring.  We have come to expect the exceptional from Edouard and this effort did not disappoint.

Within five minutes, the advantage was doubled.  18-year-old right back Jeremie Frimpong, on his third senior outing, played a give-and-go with Edouard before knocking the ball over the line for his first goal, amid a crowd of opponents inside the six-yard box.

Hatem Elhamed was unsurprisingly missing from the starting line-up, after leaving the field on Thursday with a knock, but I expected Moritz Bauer to get the nod for a game that, on paper, looked more challenging than Frompong’s previous outings against Partick Thistle and Ross County.

Just as he did last season, when on-loan Filip Benkovic was left on the bench, Neil Lennon is giving priority to permanently signed Celtic players.  The decision to start Jeremie paid off in spades.  There will be tougher defensive shifts ahead, and at 5’ 7”, there could be games he is omitted from due to his height, but he is as exciting an 18-year-old full back prospect as we have known – and we have known some special players in this area.  This one will make you forget Mikael Lustig.

James Forrest’s goal was both a joy for Celtic supporters and a concern for Aberdeen, who were statuesque as Celtic passed and moved around them.  Mohamed Elyounoussi added the fourth just before the break, another exquisite effort.

I was just as pleased to see Celtic take the foot off the pedal in the second half.  These players have a lot of football to play in the next two months.  They are not machines; despite all those trebles!

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