Celtic score nine to break SPL record
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Hat-tricks from Gary Hooper and Anthony Stokes helped Celtic back to the top of the Scottish Premier League with a record 9-0 rout of Aberdeen in a match where both sides ended with ten men.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon said it had been a wonderful day for his side. "To score nine against any opposition is a tremendous achievement," he said. "What pleased me the most was the level of performance and level of concentration and there were some good finishes."

Aberdeen counterpart Mark McGhee said the defeat, the worst in the club's 107-year history, had been excruciating.

"We came here with a plan and for 25 minutes it looked like we had got it absolutely right. We had the best chances in the game and not taken them and then the roof caves in," the Aberdeen manager said. "From that point on we lost goals in quick succession and never recovered from it."

What pleased me the most was the level of performance and level of concentration and there were some good finishes.
Neil Lennon, Celtic manager

The game had remained goalless for 25 minutes until a moment of madness from Aberdeen's Paul Hartley saw him see red for handball in the box. Stokes dispatched the resultant penalty and scored another spot-kick before the break on the other side of a Hooper double and a red card for Hoops defender Thomas Rogne.

Things got worse for the Dons in the second-half when substitute Josh Magennis headed an own goal three minutes after coming on, before Hooper completed his hat-trick with his head. Joe Ledley made it a magnificent seven with a long-range effort and Stokes got his third as the Dons crumbled.

There was still time for sub Paddy McCourt to make it 9-0 from the penalty spot to send Celtic two points clear of rivals Rangers, who play St Mirren tomorrow, and sets a new SPL record score.

Ledley and Stokes both had early chances for Celtic while at the other end Chris Maguire had his tame effort blocked by Forster and Scott Vernon saw his header cleared off the line by Cha Du-Ri. However, Hooper was on hand to double their lead in the 28th minute. Stokes fed the Englishman in the box and he shrugged off a challenge before slotting low past Langfield.

Just five minutes later Hooper got his second as the Dons defence was ripped to shreds. This time McGinn picked out Hooper with a pass and he duly lifted the ball over Langfield. Celtic were reduced to ten men five minutes before the break when Rogne saw red for pulling down Maguire at the edge of the box.

Substitute Derek Young and Hooper were then booked as the game threatened to descend into chaos and then seconds before the break the Hoops were awarded their second penalty when Langfield brought down Shaun Maloney following a run into the box. The goalkeeper got a hand to the ball but couldn't prevent Stokes scoring.

In the second-half. Hooper and Stokes had chances to claim a hat-trick before substitute Magennis sent a diving header past Langfield. The defender headed a Ledley cross high into the top right-hand corner of the net past his own goalkeeper in the 61st minute. Hooper completed his hat-trick two minutes later. The former Scunthorpe United striker rose highest at the far post to nod Stokes' cross from the right bouncing home.

Ledley made it seven with a drive from 25 yards which skidded past Langfield. Stokes finished his hat-trick two minutes later in the 74th minute when he raced in on goal and poked a shot over the advancing Langfield. Sub McCourt then hit the ninth five minutes from time after Ryan had fouled Maloney.