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Derek McInnes fielded an unchanged side once again this evening for the visit of Paul Hartley's Dundee.
They Dundee exited the Scottish Cup at the hands of St Mirren last week, their league form before the winter break had been decent with good wins over Hearts and St Johnstone.
And they started well. The Dark Blues threatened first when Marcus Haber had a half chance which was stabbed at Joe Lewis from inside the box. There wasn't enough power to trouble the Dons keeper. There was a let off for Aberdeen after 10 minutes when Paul McGowan almost chipped Lewis from 25 yards. His effort came off the crossbar after a square ball from Craig Wighton. The goalkeeper was off his line and it was almost a marvellous instinctive goal from the Dee's captain. The Dons had their first attempt at goal after 15 minutes when Mark Reynolds was unmarked at the back post from a corner. Mark settled himself well and made a good strike but Scott Bain produced a superb with an outstretched arm.
Moments later a Jonny Hayes' delivery from the right wing evaded everybody and came off the post. Adam Rooney could not get a touch and Ryan Jack couldn't fashion a shot from the rebound, marshalled out of the box by the defence.
Aberdeen continued to press, with Niall McGinn curling a shot in from just outside the box. Scott Bain was able to get down low to parry the shot away. The Dons were back in the match after spending most the first 10 minutes on the back foot. Dundee had the ball in the back of the net at the other end of the pitch when Craig Wighton's goal was ruled offside. It was a close call. Decent finish as well. They looked threatening on the break and were in a battle with Jack and Shinnie in the midfield. But after that the Dons started to take control of possession. Dons winger Niall McGinn is full of confidence right now, and was almost in about the goals again when his free kick from 25 yards out was wonderfully saved by Bain who tipped the ball away from the top corner.
After 28 minutes, some terrific play from McGinn on the left again allowed Ryan Jack to head the ball into the net from eight yards out. At the time a deserved opener for Aberdeen and wonderful for Captain Jack, whose goal was far better than his celebration! Ryan got up very well and it was a good header. The skipper went on to have a very good game.
After 35 minutes it was almost 2-0 when Rooney's clever flick on slipped in Kenny McLean, who nearly scored a wonderful outside of the boot goal from close on the right hand side. It was some lovely one touch football to open up the Dundee defence in a very congested penalty box but Bain again made a good save. Aberdeen were well on top at this stage. The Dons were looking patient and dangerous. Then Niall McGinn stepped up with a contender for goal of the season. A long free kick by Joe Lewis was cushioned down by Taylor. The winger controlled the ball from outside the box on his knee, opened his body and with his other foot fired it home with the ball not even touching the ground. He won't score many goals better than that, but we find ourselves saying that a lot when it comes to Niall!
The Dons finished the half with a deserved lead, having dominated most of the game
The Dons started the second half looking to build on their promising first half performance. Every man in red was working hard and nobody was taking the two goal advantage for granted. The first chance fell to Aberdeen when McGinn floated a free kick into the back post which Andrew Considine couldn't quite connect with on the volley. Kenny McLean had another chance to get on the scoresheet when he got on his bike from a quick Adam Rooney throw in. Great goalkeeping by Scott Bain once again kept the score line down, as he got down low to keep Kenny's shot out. Go awareness from Adam to set him free. With 25 minutes to go, Bain continued his outstanding performance when he faced Jonny Hayes baring down on goal. Hayes weaved his way through three players in the box and unselfishly squared the ball to Rooney on the penalty spot, but he couldn't beat the Dundee goalkeeper. That was five top class saves.
The Dark Blues weren't having any luck in front of goal, and had their first real chance of the second half when the substitute El Bakhtaoui tried a shot from 30 yards, which just missed the top right hand corner. Lewis had it cover. The keeper hardly had a touch all night.
With 10 minutes to go it was finally game over, when Mark Reynolds played a long ball down the left channel for Jonny Hayes to chase. He looked up and floated a wonderful cross into the box. In the middle was Niall McGinn who headed Aberdeen's third and his second of the game. A real team goal, and some wonderful link up play from the Dons attackers.
That gave Derek McInnes the chance to change things up, so the manager gave Ryan Christie his debut as well as some game time for Miles Storey and Scott Wright. There wasn't to be any further chances and Kevin Clancy called time on a great night of football for the Red Army. A comfortable, professional win that saw the Dons jump back into second place.