Dundee went down to a 3-0 defeat at Pittodrie tonight. First half goals by Ryan Jack and Niall McGinn put the Dons in charge and a late third by McGinn confirmed Aberdeen’s superiority. Dundee gave their hosts some uncomfortable moments early in the first half, but after the second goal, on the stroke of half time, the result was never in doubt.
The Dark Blues made two changes from the team that lost in the cup to St Mirren. Kevin Gomis and Nick Ross came in for the injured Kevin Holt and Faissal El Bakhtaoui, who was on the bench.
Dundee had the first chance of the match with their first attack after four minutes. Marcus Haber’s volley from a Cammy Kerr cross was saved low at his right hand post by Joe Lewis. Five minutes later Paul McGowan went agonisingly close with a 25 yard lob that beat Lewis but rebounded from the crossbar.
Although the Dark Blues had made a good start and were keeping the home crowd quiet it didn’t take the Dons long to find their rhythm; they were soon probing dangerously down the wings and applying pressure on the Dundee defence. Their first chance came from a corner that reached Mark Reynolds beyond the far post, and Scott Bain parried his shot. Less than a minute later a low Jonny Hayes cross eluded everyone and came back off the far post. Bain then pulled off a great save from a fierce, curling shot by Niall McGinn that flew through a crowd of players obstructing the keeper’s vision.
The Dee interrupted this spell of Dons’ pressure with a neat move that ended with Craig Wighton netting with a smart volley from Haber’s flick, only for the linesman’s flag to go up.
Aberdeen were quickly back onto the attack and Bain did well to tip over McGinn’s free kick from 25 yards. However, the opening goal was delayed only a couple of minutes. McGinn ran at Nick Ross on the right, checked back and crossed for Ryan JACK to run in and score with a header from six yards.
The Dark Blues were increasingly pinned back as the first half wore on. Scott Bain saved well yet again to deny Kenny McLean who had been played into space by Adam Rooney’s flick. Dundee’s hopes of reaching the interval only a goal adrift were dashed by an excellent second goal right on the stroke of half time. Niall McGINN quickly controlled the ball and scored with a snap shot from 25 yards that flew into the net off the inside of Bain’s left hand post.
The significance of that goal was quickly apparent once the second half started. With a two goal lead Aberdeen could relax, and exploit the extra space as Dundee tried in vain to chase their way back into the game.
The Dons were hardly surging forward in waves of attacks, but when they did attack they were very fast and effective, with Hayes and McGinn outstanding. Scott Bain had to be at his best to keep Aberdeen at bay. He saved well when Hayes was released by a quickly taken throw to run in on goal. The resulting corner was played short to Graeme Shinnie who shot from the edge of the penalty area. Bain beat the ball away and Rooney couldn’t screw the loose ball back on target.
Bain’s best save was still to come. A fine Hayes run gave McGinn the chance to shoot from 10 yards, but Bain saved superbly to prevent what looked a certain goal. The Dee’s keeper was helpless when the third goal eventually arrived. The goal highlighted Aberdeen’s ability to move the ball forward quickly and get players into space in the final third, with a disappointing klack of interference from the Dark Blues’ defence. Reynold’s long ball down the left sent Hayes clear, and his first time cross was perfectly judged for the unmarked McGINN to score with a powerful header past Bain.
Dundee had the ball in the Aberdeen half often enough in the second half but none of their attacks carried any conviction. Even when Dundee were trying to attack Aberdeen the home side always looked much more likely to score with a fast break.
Although the Dark Blues started the match well and were unlucky not to take the lead when Paul McGowan struck the crossbar, by the middle of the first half Aberdeen were firmly in charge and Dundee never looked like getting back into the match. The Dons’ players won all the crucial battles and the Dee were second best all over the park tonight.
Aberdeen FC 4-2-3-1
Logan, Taylor, Reynolds, Considine
Jack (c), Shinnie
Hayes (Christie 81), McLean, McGinn (Wright 87)
Rooney (Storey 83)
Unused subs: Alexander (gk), O’Connor, Pawlett, Stockley.
Goals: Jack (28), McGinn (45, 78)
Booked: Shinnie (persistent fouling).
Dundee FC 3-5-2
Etxabeguren (El Bakhtaoui 68), Gomis, Gadzhalov
O’Hara, Hateley, Ross, McGowan (c), Kerr
Unused subs: Mitchell (gk), Duffy, Williams, Waddell.
Booked: Etxabeguren (foul on Hayes).
Referee: Kevin Clancy. Assistants: Sean Carr, Graham McNeillie. Fourth official: Gavin Duncan.
Report: James Christie.