Celtic 5 Aberdeen 2: Celtic manager Neil Lennon was delighted to see his team put down a marker with a 5-2 victory over Aberdeen amid debate over whether the Dons can close the gap significantly in the seasons ahead.
Derek McInnes' team were looking for their third consecutive win over Celtic but the home side were determined to show their championship form and won through doubles from Scott Brown and Kris Commons, who took his goal tally for the season to 30, along with a strike from Anthony Stokes.
When asked about talk of the League Cup winners closing the gap, Lennon said: "Well, we are 30 points clear. It's not for me to say the gap is closing. Aberdeen have certainly improved. I think they had to improve because there was a malaise at Aberdeen for a long time.
"Derek has turned that around and he deserves a huge amount of credit for that.
"With that there will be expectation and pressure next season, but for a first season he has done remarkably well.
"But they should have been challenging a lot earlier. For them to go 19 years without a trophy, speaks volumes for their underachievement probably more than anything else."
Scott Brown netted a brace either side of a Niall McGinn equaliser with Celtic full-back Adam Matthews setting up all three first-half goals.
Stokes hit his 20th goal of the season but Shaleum Logan struck a superb first goal for Aberdeen.
But Commons struck twice in the final quarter as Celtic took their post-split tally to 14 goals in three games, banishing hopes of an Aberdeen hat-trick in the process.
Lennon said: "I thought we were great. It was five and it could have been a lot more.
"We are playing very well and providing a lot of entertainment."