Fresh from the winter break The Dons returned to action with the visit of St Mirren in the Scottish Cup Fourth Round. After coming so close to Scottish Cup glory last season The Dons would certainly have an eye on going one further this year but would first have to overcome a St Mirren side who are flying high in the Championship.
Derek McInnes made two changes to the side which faced Hearts prior to the winter break as Arnason missed out through injury and Scott McKenna also missed out through suspension as a result of his red card for Ayr United against Hibernian in last season?s Scottish Cup. The Dons were boosted by the return of Stevie May to the squad and he was joined by Niall McGinn.
The first opening of the match came in the 7th minute when Greg Stewart found space down the right. The winger made his way into the box and showed good footwork to nip past Demetriou. The full back got his timing all wrong when he went to ground and brought down Stewart for a penalty. It was a poor challenge and there were no complaints.
Adam Rooney stepped up to take the penalty and sent Samson the wrong way to put The Dons in front. It was the start the visitors would have dreaded with Aberdeen scoring with their first attack.
The goal set The Dons on the front foot and they almost had a second when Stewart popped up on the right, cut inside and fizzed a shot towards the top corner. Samson did enough to turn it over the bar. Up the other end St Mirren had their first effort of the match when Morgan found space out wide. The Celtic loanee cut inside and cut the ball back for Magennis but his strike was palmed clear by Lewis.
On the balance of play there was not much in the match when Aberdeen got their second goal in the 17th minute. It was quality from wide that created the first goal and the second was created in a similar vein when Mackay-Steven got to the by-line and cut the ball back for Christie who made no mistake with a powerful low shot from 12 yards. Just when it looked as though The Dons would cruise through the rest of the match St Mirren pulled a goal back in the 25th minute. Stewart failed to clear the ball on the edge of the area which gave Morgan an opportunity to fire the ball towards goal. Lewis pushed the ball out to the left but couldn?t get enough on it to clear the danger as the ball fell kindly for Reilly to knock into an empty net.
In the 30th minute Considine was the first player to get his name in the referee's book when he clattered Magennis with a late challenge. It was an unsettling few minutes for The Dons but they soon restored the two goal lead when Demetriou made a poor attempt to head clear at the back post. The ball fell for Logan who could have shot first time but instead he cut back and clipped the ball high to the back post. It turned out to be the right decision as Christie rose highest to meet the ball and head past Samson to make it 3-1 to the Dons.
It was a lively first half hour and immediately after Christie restored the two goal lead it was almost reduced to one goal again. A mix-up in defence gave Morgan the opportunity to lift the ball towards an empty net from 20 yards, thankfully for The Dons the ball hit the side of the net. A few minutes before the half-time break The Dons broke free once again when Shinnie slipped Rooney through on goal. The striker couldn?t get enough space to get a shot away and cut the ball back for Shinnie but his shot was blocked meaning that the score would remain 3-1 going into the half-time break.
Within two minutes of the half-time break Mackay-Steven picked the ball up twenty-five yards from goal, knocked it past the full back and rifled the ball across Samson and into the top corner of the net. It was a sensational strike which all but ruled out the prospect of St Mirren getting back into the tie.
In the minutes that followed Mackay-Steven and Rooney created opportunities for themselves but were denied by some last-ditch defending. With 30 minutes to play it was difficult to see where another St Mirren goal would come from but there would be more opportunities for The Dons.
With twenty-five minutes remaining there was a standing ovation as Mackay-Steven departed for the returning McGinn. Mackay-Steven could be pleased with his afternoon?s work after scoring a wonderful goal and providing an assist for Christie?s first goal. Within a few minutes of getting on the pitch McGinn could have had a goal and an assist of his own. First up he got on the end of a cross and attempted a scissor kick towards the bottom corner which went just wide of the post. Moments later, the winger popped up on the right, beat his man and whipped the ball across goal and barring a late intervention from a St Mirren defender Rooney would have been there to score a certain goal.
With fifteen minutes remaining Dons supporters were given further reason to be cheerful when Stevie May returned to action replacing Greg Stewart. Moments later Christie almost had his hat-trick when he slalomed into the area beating a couple of players before clipping the ball over the keeper and towards the back post. The ball drifted away from goal and was picked up by May who fired a low shoot towards goal which was blocked. Derek McInnes made his final change when Harvie replaced Reynolds and a few minutes later The Dons were down to ten men when Christie hobbled off with an injury. In the end it was a comfortable victory for Aberdeen who could now look forward to the Fifth Round draw.
Aberdeen Teamsheet Lewis
.Unused Subs: Wright, Ball, Maynard, McGinn.Bookings: Considine
St. Mirren Teamsheet
4.Stephen McGinn (C),
11.Cameron Smith (Mark Hill 75),
16.Ian McShane (Ryan Flynn 57),
20.Gavin Reilly (Daniel Mullen 66),
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Referee: Don Robrtson