Aberdeen are one point off Rangers and Kilmarnock at the Premiership’s summit with three games left in 2018 after easing past Dundee 5-1 at Pittodrie,
The Dons dominated from start to finish against Jim McIntyre’s rock bottom relegation strugglers, who are doomed on this evidence, with big striker Sam Cosgrove adding another two goals to his Reds account.
Derek McInnes used the same 4-4-2 starting line-up from the 2-1 win over St Mirren in Paisley on Saturday.
On three minutes, Graeme Shinnie nicked the ball from Martin Woods out right and Cosgrove was just beaten to the skipper’s low cross. The visitors then scrambled a volley from his strike partner Stevie May away from the Dons corner.
With 10 minutes gone, Shinnie won a free-kick beating Paul McGowan to a loose ball, however, Lewis Ferguson’s effort from the set-piece – some 25 yards out – was bouncing by the time it reached keeper Jack Hamilton.
Soon after, full-back Shay Logan sent a tantalising left-footed cross into the back post, which Cosgrove was inches from reaching with his head.
On 16 minutes, after May had a shot from inside the area blocked, the opener came.
The ball rebounded to Connor McLennan and another cross from the right was met by the diving Cosgrove, who headed his fifth goal of the season and third goal in three matches.
Then, on 20 minutes, McLennan almost teed up another inside the area, but Ferguson could only shoot into Hamilton’s gloves from 16 yards.
Cosgrove’s confidence was plain to see, with the tall hitman – who cost £20,000 from Carlisle in January – working the goalie from outside the area moments later and starting to look like McInnes was correct to label him as one for the future when he signed.
Dundee on the other hand played in the early stages like a side who are propping up the table, they were bereft of the composure to get out of their own half, let alone create any chances, and could have again been further behind with half an hour played when Ferguson was allowed a free header at a corner which he sent along the six-yard line from the back post.
For the Reds, McLennan was the stand-out of the early stages, playing in Shinnie on 36 minutes, who turned close to goal and hit a curling shot which Hamilton tipped away at the last second.
With two minutes of the first half remaining the Dees had their first meaningful effort, Nathan Ralph deflected edge of the box striker forcing Joe Lewis into a low stop.
However, before the whistle went it was 2-0, Lewis’ kick forward had dropped to Ferguson, who slid a pass forward to Cosgrove. The big striker broke into the box and smashed through Hamilton’s legs for his second.
After the break, Dundee showed little signs of revival and Andy Considine was unmarked on 51 minutes when he headed Niall McGinn’s corner from the right into the bottom left corner.
McGinn was provider again on 56 minutes, overlapping May on the left wing and crossing for McLennan – eight yards out – to volley a deserved goal into the same corner as Considine had scored.
As ruthless as Aberdeen were, the marking from McIntyre’s men for goals two, three and four was non-existent and should be real cause for concern.
On 68 minutes, however, they pulled a good goal back as the Dons took their foot of the pedal, with Calvin Miller lashing home left-footed past Lewis from the edge of the box.
McInnes’ men switched back on as a result of this little challenge to their dominance and, on 73 minutes, Considine got another. His initial effort blocked on the line spectacularly before his second bite went high into the Dee goal.
To cap a brilliant evening’s work for Aberdeen, £150,000 marquee summer signing Chris Forrester was sent on for the final 12 minutes – a first appearance since October 6, coming on for Cosgrove, who received a standing ovation.
Aberdeen: Joe Lewis, Shay Logan, Max Lowe, Andrew Considine, Scott McKenna, Graeme Shinnie, Lewis Ferguson, Niall McGinn, Stevie May, Sam Cosgrove, Connor McLennan.
Subs: Dom Ball (for May 61), James Wilson (for MGinn 68), Chris Forrester (for Cosgrove 78).
Subs not used: Tomas Cerny, Stephen Gleeson, Scott Wright, Bruce Anderson. .
Dundee: Jack Hamilton, Cammy Kerr, Nathan Ralph, Martin Woods, Genseric Kusunga, Darren O’Dea, Calvin Miller, Paul McGowan, Kenny Miller, Jesse Curran, Lewis Spence.
Subs: Andy Boyle (for Kusunga 18), Glen Kamara (for Spence 50), Benjamin Kallman (for Miller 62).
Subs not used: Elliot Parish, Glen Kamara, Adil Nabi, Ryan Inniss, Benjamin Kallman, Callum Moore.