There was an element of fortune to proceedings, but Barcelona ended 2015 exactly how they would have wanted to – on top of La Liga.
They started the day at the top, but with Real Madrid and Atletico playing first, saw the capital sides take their spot in turn. But they saw off a brave and at times brutal Betis to return to the league’s summit.
Lionel Messi scored on his 500th Barcelona appearance and Luis Suarez added two, but the opener, an own goal by Heiko Westermann held the key to discovering what went on in a game that was more complicated than it looks.
Barcelona romped to victory and could have scored many more, with Neymar and Messi hitting the woodwork in the second half and Suarez spurning a couple of fine chances.
However, the game hinged on an incident just before the half-hour mark.
When Messi raced onto a ball hooked into the area by Sergio Busquets, he clashed with goalkeeper Antonio Adan, flying out to punch it to safety.
He got the ball first, before colliding with Messi, and referee Vicandi Garrido erroneously pointed to the penalty spot.
With Messi still recovering after being bashed, Neymar took it, hitting the bar and seeing Westermann put the ball into his own net as he tried to stop Ivan Rakitic getting there.
Neymar had slipped and potentially touched the ball twice as he shot it, which added insult to injury for Betis.
Literally, injury, as Westermann went off a few minutes later, leaving them in disarray at the back, with the other centre-back Bruno injured earlier.
Barcelona capitalised, with a wonderful Messi-and-Neymar whirlwind of passes seeing the Brazilian set up the Argentine, to score on a milestone appearance for the club.
Suarez struck right after the re-start, having hit the side-netting at the end of the first half when he should have scored.
He came flying out of the traps and when Busquets won the ball back and fed him, the Uruguayan finished clinically. Suarez struck again late on, making himself the division’s top scorer with 15 goals.
Barcelona began the night by parading the five trophies they won in 2015 and head into 2016 hoping to be doing the same thing next year – but with six pots instead.