Aberdeen continued where they left off in the Scottish Premiership with a convincing 3-0 win over Hamilton.
It was the Dons’ first league fixture since returning from the winter break and Sam Cosgrove’s double and a Lewis Ferguson effort gave them a deserved victory against struggling Accies at New Douglas Park.
Reds boss Derek McInnes made one change to the side which was held to a 1-1 draw with Stenhousemuir in the Scottish Cup on Saturday. Stevie May was drafted in up front with Niall McGinn dropping to the bench.
The first chance fell for the hosts on nine minutes. Dougie Imrie’s corner on the left was met by Matt Kilgallon 10 yards out, but the defender’s powerful header was brilliantly tipped onto the crossbar by keeper Joe Lewis.
Aberdeen grew into the game after that with Greg Stewart’s dangerous free-kick from the left being uncertainly patted away by goalie Ryan Fulton.
In the 20th minute a decent passing move from the Dons ended with Stewart finding Gary Mackay-Steven and the winger’s strike from 25 yards drifted narrowly over.
The outstanding moment of quality in the opening half hour resulted in Aberdeen taking the lead on 25 minutes.
It started with Cosgrove winning a high ball on the right to feed, Mackay-Steven, he worked the ball infield for Stewart who moved possession to skipper Graeme Shinnie in the centre of the park.
The Reds captain spread play to the left for Max Lowe who had bombed forward from left-back, the Derby loanee found May wide on the left, the striker’s right-footed cross found Cosgrove at the back post.
The Englishman’s initial header across goal was blocked by Kilgallon but Cosgrove followed up and stabbed the ball home from eight yards.
Shortly after the half hour Cosgrove was unlucky as he bundled Lowe’s cross from the left wide.
Just before the break Aberdeen almost added a second on the break when Stewart set up Mackay-Steven but a heavy touch let him down.
Aberdeen knew a second goal early in the second period would make it very difficult for the Accies to recover and they got it in the 52nd minute.
Aaron McGowan tumbled in the Dons’ box looking for a penalty, but ref Greg Aitken waved it away because Mackay-Steven had won the ball.
Mackay-Steven then fizzed a long ball down the left flank for Cosgrove. The striker controlled and beat Ziggy Gordon with a mixture of strength, speed and skill.
Then Cosgrove raced into the area and drilled home a low right-footed shot from 14 yards.
On 57 minutes it was well and truly game over when Aberdeen made it 3-0.
Lowe won a corner on the left, May’s in-swinging delivery was headed by Cosgrove, Fulton saved but former Hamilton player Lewis Ferguson got the final touch almost on the goal-line to bundle the ball home.
After that it was comfortable for the Dons, but they almost added a fourth when sub Scott Wright jinked his way down the left before curling a shot inches wide from just inside the box.
With 10 minutes left there was a moment of panic at the back for Aberdeen as Mackay-Steven almost sold Lewis short with a back-pass, but the Dons goalie got to the ball before Scott McMann could profit.
After that the Reds saw out the rest of the game with ease as Dons support of 1071 in the crowd of 2104 celebrated at New Douglas Park.
Hamilton: Ryan Fulton, Aaron McGowan, Scott McMann, Ziggy Gordon, Matt Kilgallon, Dougie Imrie, Steve Davies (James Keatings 62), Mickel Miller (Steven Boyd 41), Tom Taiwo (Scott Martin 81), Alex Gogic, Tony Andreu.
Subs not used: Jacob Marsden, Alex Penny, Shaun Want, and Lenny Sowah.
Aberdeen: Joe Lewis, Shay Logan, Scott McKenna, Andy Considine, Max Lowe, Greg Stewart, Lewis Ferguson (Dominic Ball 87), Graeme Shinnie, Gary Mackay-Steven, Stevie May (Stephen Gleeson 81), Sam Cosgrove (Scott Wright 71).
Subs not used: Tomas Cerny, Niall McGinn, Dean Campbell and Tommie Hoban.