CELTIC have taken a huge step on their seemingly inevitable march towards a seventh league title in a row by beating closest challengers Aberdeen.

Brendan Rodgers’s men won an intriguing game, which they eventually dominated, and that’s now eight wins from their last eight games against the Premiership’s second best team.

The champions sit eight points ahead of Aberdeen and eleven in front of Rangers who go to Parkhead next Saturday.

It is highly unlikely this Celtic, even a team which hasn’t quite reached the levels of last season, are going to be caught this season.

As for the men from Pittodrie, they had chances at 0-0 but fell out of things as the match progressed.

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes wanted his players to show a bit of anger and the five fouls in the first seven minutes, one from Kari Arnason on Mousse Dembele earned the defender a booking, showed that his side weren’t going to stand off Celtic this time.

After a tight 23 minutes, Aberdeen came close to scoring. Dedryck Boyata gave away possession, Gary Mackay-Steven got on the ball and sent his shot just wide of the far post.

Within 60 seconds, Dembele and Armstrong combined in the centre-circle, the latter's pass sending Scott Sinclair through on goal. His pace got him past Dominic Ball and one-one-one with Aberdeen keeper Joe Lewis who came off his line to make a fine save.

It was Craig Gordon’s turn to shine on 27 minutes when he pushed away a fine shot by Greg Stewart.

Jonny Hayes almost opened the scoring for the home side, and against his former club, when he showed good skill inside the box to create a chance, but his shot flew across goal.

Celtic did score five minutes before the break and it was down to a fair bit of good fortune.

After some good possession by the home side around the Aberdeen area, the ball was played out to Mikael Lustig who took on a shot from 20 yards, the ball came off the back of Arnason, which gave Lewis no chance.

It was almost 2-0 immediately after half-time.

Stuart Armstrong ran with the ball from his own half and past three red shirts, to the Aberdeen touchline. Ball partially cleared the Celtic man’s cross, Dembele took on the volley which took a deflection as it drifted just wide.

Olivier Ntcham was next to go close, his low drive just missing the post, then Kieran Tierney couldn’t quite get enough power on his shot which came at the end of a terrific run.

It was all Celtic until the 66th minute when Kenny McLean came no more than a couple of inches away off an equaliser with a low drive which took a deflection – a theme of the game – and from that corner, Arnason headed just over.

However, the game was settled on 69 minutes.

Sinclair showed great determination to get to the ball before it crossed the by-line, his cross came off Mark Reynolds, then Arnason, and the loose ball was stabbed over the line by Hayes for his first Celtic goal.

That defending was brutal, but worse was to come for Aberdeen.

McLean tried a headed pass-back which was never on, Ntcham read the situation, shimmed past Lewis, and rolled the ball into an empty net for the third.

Celtic: Gordon, Lustig, Boyata, Ajer, Tierney, Brown, Ntcham, Armstrong, Hayes (McGregor 75), Sinclair (Forrest 69), Dembele (Edouard 80)

Substitutes not used: De Vries, Simunovic, Bitton, Griffiths

Aberdeen: Lewis, Ball, Arnason, Reynolds, Considine, O'Connor, McLean, Shinnie, Mackay-Steven (Harvie 87), Stewart (Ross 84) Rooney (Maynard 67)

Substitutes not used: Rogers, Wright, McKenna, Campbell

Referee: Craig Thomson