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Kilmarnock 0 - 4 Aberdeen

HT Score: Kilmarnock 0 - 2 Aberdeen

Scottish Premiership
Aberdeen scorers: McGinn 9, Rooney 35, Hayes 46, Logan 80.

19/12/2015 | KO: 15:00

Rooney Hits Half Century as Dons Close In on Celtic

Aberdeen gave their fans an early Christmas present with an outstanding performance at Rugby Park. This was Derek McInnes' 100th game in charge and the manager would certainly have enjoyed the performance from his players. From the opening moments Flood, Jack and McLean took control of the midfield and went on to dominate the 90 minutes, giving the Dons a great attacking platform. McGinn opened the scoring from a McLean cross after nine minutes and then, just after the half hour mark, McGinn crossed for Adam Rooney to head home his 50th Aberdeen goal in only his 91st game, a remarkable achievement. Just 16 seconds into the second half the game was over as Hayes prodded home a McLean cross and the icing was put on the Christmas cake with a superb fourth goal involving substitutes Smith and Pawlett who set up Logan to fire home. A bumper crowd is now expected for the visit of Inverness CT on Boxing Day.

Derek McInnes made three changes to the side that defeated Hearts at Pittodrie last week. The Dons were boosted by the return of Niall McGinn but unfortunately Mark Reynolds and Andrew Considine missed the match through injury.

Their absence meant a slight reshuffle to the back four with Shinnie, Quinn, Taylor and Logan starting in front of Ward. In midfield Jack returned to the starting line-up alongside Flood. McLean, Hayes and McGinn were tasked with providing the ammunition for Rooney up front.

In the 5th minute the game burst into life as the ball broke to Rooney six yards from goal, with his back to goal the striker attempted a back-heel but MacDonald was positioned to save. Killie launched a quick counter-attack as Splaine looked to capitalise on a slip from Hayes. The youngster waited for his moment and clipped a ball to the back post for Magennis but his looping header back across the goal went wide of the post.

Moments later The Dons had a corner and McLean managed to find space in the area but his volley went over the bar. The midfielder clutched his head after watching the shot go over the bar which suggested that he felt he should have done better.

In the 8th minute Aberdeen did make the breakthrough when McLean whipped a ball to the back post. The cross was in an awkward area for the keeper but all credit has to go to McGinn who managed to nip in to head the ball in from inside the six yard box. The winger's celebrations were curtailed slightly as he looked to have picked up a knock whilst scoring but thankfully he was able to continue.

The Dons could have doubled their lead a couple of minutes later when Hayes burst down the left. His cross had too much on it for Rooney but it did carry through to McLean who was unable to keep his shot down.
If Kilmarnock were to get a goal at this stage it looked like it was going to come from former Don, Josh Magennis. From his position wide on the right Josh had fired in a couple of dangerous looking crosses but The
Dons defence managed to mop them both up. Paul Quinn and Taylor looked good together this afternoon.

As the match approached the 20 minute mark The Dons were good value for their lead and looked comfortable. McGinn was getting into good areas at ease and looked as dangerous as he had been in the first 45 minutes at Dens Park a couple of weeks earlier.

In the 23rd minute another former Aberdeen player was involved in the action. Steven Smith became the first player to go into the book for a professional foul on Hayes as the winger looked to drive towards goal. The Dons looked very strong in wide areas and it wasn't long before another cross ball had Killie under pressure.

This time it was Shinnie's turn to go on the overlap and clip a ball into the box for Rooney but his header from 12 yards ended up over the bar. Shinnie was getting forward at will and in the 30th minute he almost had an assist when another cross was turned towards goal by McLean. The midfielder was stretching to reach the ball and sent MacDonald the wrong way but was very unfortunate to see the ball bounce back off the crossbar.

The Dons were cruising but gave Kilmarnock an opportunity to get back into the game when Quinn was penalised for pulling Kiltie's shirt after being caught in possession. Splaine fired the free-kick towards goal but it was a comfortable save in the end for Ward.

The next chance also fell to Kilmarnock in the 34th minute when Magennis hit a low shot across goal and wide of the post after looking to have fouled Shinnie in the build-up. Shinnie, quite rightly, let his frustrations boil over a bit at what looked like a blatant foul being ignored but he escaped a card which would have been a real injustice.

In the 35th minute the all-important second goal.

Aberdeen doubled their lead when Hayes and then McGinn rampaged down the left yet again. As Rooney raced up in support he pointed where he wanted the delivery and McGinn duly obliged to leave the striker to score with a header from the penalty spot. The header had so much power on it that the keeper had no chance.
The goal was Rooney's 50th for The Dons and it was richly deserved on the balance of play.

Killie were in disarray as the crowd began to turn on their side and when Rooney found himself one-on-one with MacDonald the home support feared the worst. The striker rounded the keeper but the defence got back in time to block his shot from a narrow angle.

The contrast between both sets of supporters could not have been greater as the 1000 or so Dons fans that had made the trip to Ayrshire were making themselves heard for the right reasons. The home support booed their side off at half-time but the truth was that Aberdeen were simply too good for them.

The Dons took just over 15 seconds of the second half to extend the lead further as McLean turned provider yet again. This time his cross found Hayes unmarked at the back post and he hit a half-volley past MacDonald from 12 yards with his right foot in front of the travelling Aberdeen support.

As an attacking force The Dons had been terrific, in particular the front four. This was exemplified by the fact that Hayes, McGinn, Rooney and McLean had all contributed with at least one goal or an assist at this early stage in the match.

The match was now over as a contest and it was unfortunate to see Kilmarnock's frustrations spill over a bit when a late challenge from Splaine left Jack in pain. The youngster picked up a booking for the challenge and thankfully the skipper was able to continue.

In the 60th minute a raking cross from Hayes found Rooney at the back post but the front man had too much to do to direct the ball back to another red shirt or really threaten the keeper. The Dons were in total control of the match now and it looked as if the home side would have taken a 3-0 defeat with a quarter of the match remaining.

In the 73rd minute Derek McInnes made his first substitution as Cammy Smith replaced Ryan Jack. Moments later Killie mustered an attack but Splaine was unable to keep his header down after sneaking in unmarked at the back post.

Up the other end Rooney completed a one-two with Smith after getting on the end of a long ball but couldn't generate enough power or direction with a half volley from 18 yards to beat the keeper. Smith was involved again in the 77th minute as he prodded the ball through for Hayes, this time his shot was hit over the bar from the edge of the area.

McGinn was the next man to be substituted and he received a well-deserved standing ovation as he left the field to be replaced by Pawlett.

After a relatively quiet spell The Dons had their foot on the gas again and it wasn't a surprise when they made it four with a magnificent goal. Smith was involved yet again as he played the ball through for Pawlett inside the area. Inside of pulling the trigger himself Pawlett managed to play a back-heel perfectly into the path of Logan who stroked the ball past MacDonald.

Killie almost had a goal of their own in the 83rd minute but Obadeyi was unfortunate to see his strike head over the bar after he found space in the box thanks to a direct run which used all of his pace and power.

At this stage Rooney was replaced by Goodwillie and again the Aberdeen supporters were on their feet as they applauded the latest player to strike 50 for The Dons.

As the board went up to show two minutes of added time Aberdeen found themselves with a succession of corners. An excellent afternoon's work was almost wrapped up in style but McLean's ambitious scissor kick from Pawlett's volley ended up over the bar.

As the final whistle blew at Rugby Park all the focus from the Main Stand was on booing the home side but this had been a magnificent performance from The Dons which was deservedly matched by the emphatic nature of the score line.
Kilmarnock Teamsheet
21.Jamie MacDonald, 02.Ross Barbour, 05.Stuart Findlay, 06.Mark Connolly, 26.Conrad Balatoni, 03.Steven Smith (16.Temitope Obadeyi 63), 04.Jamie Hamill (19.Craig Slater 37), 17.Aaron Splaine, 23.Greg Kiltie, 28.Josh Magennis, 09.Kris Boyd (07.Rory McKenzie 51). Unused Subs: 01.Mark Ridgers, 08.Scott Robinson, 14.Mark O'Hara, 39.Adam Frizzell.

Bookings:  03.Steven Smith (23),   17.Aaron Splaine (55).
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Ward, Logan, Shinnie, Taylor, Quinn, McLean, Flood, McGinn (Pawlett 78), Hayes, Jack (Smith 74), Rooney (Goodwillie 82).

Unused Subs: Storie, McKenna, Harvie, Brown.

Bookings:  Quinn (32).
Attendance: 3,928
Venue: Rugby Park, Kilmarnock
Referee: Steven McLean
Next Match
10 Jul 2024 / 19:00 / Balmoor Stadium, Peterhead