Aberdeen moved into the fifth round of the Scottish Cup with a clinical 4-1 defeat of League One Stenhousemuir in a replay at Ochilview.
Cheered on by a 1,500-strong travelling support, Aberdeen ruthlessly dispatched the side rock bottom of Scotland’s third tier.
The Reds were 3-0 up a the break courtesy of goals from Niall McGinn, Sam Cosgrove (penalty) and Greg Stewart, his first for the club since arriving back on loan until the end of the season from Birmingham.
Stenhousemuir netted early in the second half through Andy Munro but there was never any chance of a replay of the Ochilview side’s infamous 2-0 Scottish Cup defeat of Aberdeen in 1995.
The Dons made three changes to the side that drew 0-0 with Kilmarnock in the league at the weekend.
One change was enforced with Scotland international defender Scott McKenna ruled out with a hamstring injury sustained against Killie.
On-loan Watford defender Tommie Hoban came in to replace McKenna.
It was Hoban’s first start for the Dons since a 1-1 draw with Hibs in late August.
Hoban suffered a shoulder injury in that match at Easter Road that required surgery and ruled him out for five months.
Scott Wright and Niall McGinn returned to the starting line-up with Gary Mackay-Steven and Stevie May dropping to the bench.
Aberdeen created the first opportunity in the fifth minute when Lewis Ferguson fired in a powerful drive from 22 yards that keeper Graeme Smith dived to his right to parry,
The loose ball fell to the onrushing McGinn, but his 10-yard shot slammed into the side netting.
However, the Northern Ireland international winger would not miss when presented with another chance soon after.
Recalled to the starting line-up winger Scott Wright broke into the penalty area at pace and stepped past two challenges before squaring a pass to McGINN, who fired a low clinical drive beyond Smith.
In the 27th minute the lively Wright drilled in a low shot from the left flank from 25 yards that flashed inches wide.
Moments later skipper Graeme Shinne’s 22-yard effort took a deflection that sent it spinning inches wide of the Stenny far post with keeper Smith beaten.
An inevitable second goal arrived on the half hour when Stewart was clumsily brought down in the box as he attempted to race onto a Shinnie pass that deflected off Conor McBrearty.
Referee Barry Cook had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot.
Prolific striker Sam COSGROVE stepped up and confidently slotted low to the keeper’s right for his 12th goal of the season.
It was 3-0 in the 38th minute when Shinnie found STEWART with a through ball,
The 28-year-old collected the pass, beat his man on the left, then superbly chipped a shot over Smith from 12 yards out.
In the 50th minute Stewart was denied another when Smith blocked his powerful long-range drive.
Moments later keeper Joe Lewis was called into action for the first time when he dived to his right to tip a vicious drive from Mark Ferry behind for a corner.
Aberdeen failed to clear the resultant corner and Andy MUNRO jumped highest at the near post to header in from close range. It was sloppy from Aberdeen.
It was 4-1 in the 66th minute when a cross from Stewart led to an attempted clearance from Ruaridh DONALDSON which rattled off the cross-bar and over the line for an own goal.
In the 78th minute keeper Smith blocked a Cosgrove shot at close range then recovered quickly to also deny Wright.
Aberdeen will now meet Queen of the South in the fifth round at Pittodrie on February 10.
ABERDEEN: Lewis, Logan, Hoban, Considine, Lowe, Ferguson, Shinnie, Wright, McGinn, Stewart, Cosgrove.
Subs: Mackay-Steven (for McGinn 76), Wilson (for Cosgrov 84).
Subs not used: Cerny, Ball, Gleeson, Ross, May.
STENHOUSEMUIR: Smith, Duthie, Munro, Donaldson, Reid, Dickson, McBrearty, Ferry, Cook, Halleran, McGuigan.
Subs not used: McGinn, Garcia Tena, Paterson, McMenamin, Gibbons.