Celtic supporters travelled to Pittodrie in their thousands to watch Tony Mowbray take his bow on the domestic stage and witnessed a 3-1 victory that held much promise for the future.
This opening league match was always going to be a difficult one for the new Celtic manager, with Mark McGhee taking over at Aberdeen and determined to make amends for their recent European exit.
Instead the home support were left reeling as Celtic eased their way into the game before seizing control and grabbing three goals in the first-half.
The game was just three minutes old when Celtic had their first clear chance, with Shaun Maloney taking advantage of a miscued clearance from Charlie Mulgrew, controlling the ball beautifully before picking out the run into the box by Massimo Donati.
The Italian laid it back to Danny Fox, whose cross was then swung in to the feet of Scott McDonald. But the little striker leaned back and blasted his shot from 10 yards out well over the bar.
There were further positive signs, as Celtic warmed up in the first 20 minutes, including a corner by Fox which was missed by Jamie Langfield and fizzed across the goalmouth without any takers.
Then there were three bursting runs into the box by Maloney, the second of which ended with a shot fired straight at the Aberdeen goalkeeper.
The home side, meanwhile, were trying to play their way into the game, but although one neat passing move and a couple of set pieces from Mulgrew got the home crowd on their feet, there were no attempts on target.
Then, having stuck doggedly to the task, Celtic made the breakthrough in the 29th minute thanks to a sweeping counter-attack and a spot of luck.
Starting deep inside their half, Celtic burst forward, with Maloney rolling the ball in to the feet of Marc-Antoine Fortune. The pass was played too close to the keeper, who was out quickly to cover, but the striker’s shot cannoned off Langfield and into the path of Aiden McGeady, who tapped the ball over the line from a yard out.
This got the ball rolling for Tony Mowbray’s men and moments later Fortune saw his shot blocked by a well-timed challenge from Richard Foster. Langfield then pulled off a brilliant save to deny McDonald at point blank range and Fox saw a long-range effort zip past the post.
With Celtic gaining momentum and showing a good range of passing, with McGeady threatening to run riot, Mark McGhee made an early change, bringing on Darren Mackie for Stuart Duff.
But this counted for little when Andy Hinkel beat Mulgrew and played it to McGeady on the edge of the box. The Irishman jinked inside and unleashed an unstoppable shot that flew past Langfield.
Then, two minutes later and just 60 seconds before half time, Aberdeen failed to clear their lines, allowing McDonald to pounce on a loose ball and turn in front of goal, making it 3-0.
The question now was how the Celtic players would approach the second-half three goals to the good and dealing with an enforced change, with Scott Brown on for Glenn Loovens, and Donati dropping back into defence.
Despite this setback, they quickly carved out another chance with Hinkel picking out Fortune and the striker sending a header inches over the bar.
However, the next strike was Aberdeen’s, a perfectly delivered volley by Sone Aluko which dipped and swerved beyond the fingertips of Artur Boruc and into the far corner of the net to make it 3-1.
This gave the home side a glimmer of hope that might well have been completely extinguished had the referee spotted what appeared to be a blatant trip inside the box on Georgios Samaras by Jerel Ifil.
Celtic soon settled at the back, with Donati looking particularly assured in what was, all-round, an excellent performance from the big Italian.
With Celtic still in full control there was a lengthy delay when Zander Diamond was injured in an accidental collision and was stretchered off.
Aberdeen then squandered a glorious chance to set up a tense finish, when a ball was cleared off the line with seven minutes remaining, although McGeady soon followed this with a curling shot that forced a good save from Langfield.
There was just one negative in this Celtic performance, with Maloney limping off after a foul by Foster.
As the finally whistle sounded, cries of ‘bring on the Arsenal’ resounded among those for manager Mowbray.
While every supporter realises just how difficult a task the team faces this Tuesday in the UEFA Champions League play-off, there is, undoubtedly, a growing confidence in the Celtic camp.