Evening Express

Aberdeen storm into BetFred quarter-finals with 4-0 destruction of St Mirren

Aberdeen winger Gary Mackay-Steven

Aberdeen coasted into the BetFred quarter-finals with an emphatic 4-0  win over Premiership outfit St Mirren.

The Buddies were lucky to only concede four goals and only a succession of vital saves from over-worked keeper Craig Samson kept the score-line down.

Gary Mackay-Steven grabbed a brace with Graeme Shinnie and Stevie May also on the score-sheet.

Aberdeen were dominant from the first whistle and forced a save from keeper Craig Samson after only nine seconds.

It set the pattern for the rest of this one sided cup tie where a young St Mirren defence were taught a brutal lesson by the rampant Reds.

That was despite Aberdeen suffering a blow just minutes before kick-off when Northern Ireland international winger Niall McGinn sustained an injury during the warm-up and was replaced at late notice in the starting-line up by Frank Ross.

The 20-year-old Ross put in an excellent shift in only his second Aberdeen start.

Aberdeen will discover their quarter-final opponents in a Sunday’s draw.

There was to be no debut for Manchester United striker James Wilson who joined on a season long loan earlier this week.

The 22-year-old failed to recover in time from an ankle knock sustained in an U23 game with the Old Trafford side last Friday and did not even make the bench.

Aberdeen made two changes to the starting line-up from the side that beat Dundee 1-0 with winger Scott Wright coming in for striker Sam Cosgrove.

Initially there was just one change as winger Niall McGinn was named on the team sheet.

Ross was drafted in for his second start for the Dons. His only previous start was in the 1-0 win at Dundee last December, the game after he scored a superb free-kick in a 2-1 loss to Rangers.

The Dons made their intentions clear straight from the kick-off when Gary Mackay-Steven found Stevie May with a cross from the right flank.

Striker May fired off a 10 yard shot that keeper Craig Samson pushed wide for a corner.

There were just nine seconds on the clock.

Moments later midfielder Stephen Gleeson fired a 22 yard free kick over the bar.

In the fifth minute the highly dangerous Mackay-Steven picked out Lewis Ferguson at the back post but his diving header was saved for a corner.

Straight after Dominic Ball met a Frank Ross corner with a glancing header that Ferguson got a toe onto only to see the effort flash inches wide.

Again in the 10th minute Mackay-Steven was provider when his drifted corner from the right found Mikey Devlin who headed across goal from 18 yards and wide.

Aberdeen could, and should, have been two or three up inside the first 10 minutes.

St Mirren finally mustered an effort in the 13th minute when Nicolai Brock-Madsen headed wide.

Aberdeen’s deserved opener came in the 15th minute when a pass from Ferguson found MACKAY-STEVEN who took it on the volley.

The winger smashed the ball into the ground from just inside the box and it bounced over keeper Samson.

The Dons were tearing St Mirren apart.

It was 2-0 in the 19th minute when the sensational Mackay-Steven raced past Hayden Coulson and captain Graeme SHINNIE powered in on the blindside at the back post to head in.

St Mirren looked shell-shocked and were hugely fortunate to just be two goals down after only 20 minutes.

The rout continued when it became 3-0 in the 26th minute when Wright pounced on a poor clearance from keeper Samson

He rounded the keeper and then unselfishly squared a pass along the face of goal to Stevie MAY who clinically fired in from 12 yards.

It was May’s first competitive goal for the Dons since a 4-1 win over St Johnstone on March 31.

In the 36th minute Ball picked out Shinnie at the edge of the box and his dipping header went just over.

Yet again Mackay-Steven was in the heart of the action when he skipped past Coulson then unleashed a low drive from 12 yards that keeper Samson did well to block at the near post.

On the stroke of half-time Shinnie had a 12 yard drive blocked by Samson.

It was the final action of a superb 45 minute shift from the Dons who received a deserved standing ovation from the Red Army at half-time.

It was 4-0 in the 56th minute when Aberdeen were awarded a penalty when Mackay-Steven was taken down by Coulson as he attempted to step past him.

The left-back had no answer for MACKAY-STEVEN who then stepped up to take the penalty – and converted.

In the 81st minute Shinnie curled a 22 yard shot inches wide of the far corner with keeper Samson beaten.

Moments later teenage substitute Bruce Anderson volleyed from distance forcing keeper Samson to push wide.

ABERDEEN: Lewis, Ball, Devlin, Considine, Shinnie, Gleeson, Ferguson, McGinn, Mackay-Steven, Wright, May.

Subs: Forrester (for  Ross 60), Anderson (for Wright 70), McLennan (for May 80)

Subs not used: Cerny,  Cosgrove, Campbell,  Roscoe.

ST MIRREN: Samson, P. McGinn, Coulson, S. McGinn, Magennis, Brock-Madsen, Smith, Baird, Mullen, Willock, Kpekawa.

Subs: Jones (for Kpekawa 50), Cooke (for Brock-Madsen 81)

Subs not used: Muir, Heaton, McShane,  King, MacPherson.

Referee: Steven McLean