Aberdeen were well worthy of three points against promoted Ross County as they rediscovered their attacking threat.
Even before they scored their two first-half goals, they’d created two brilliant chances.
The first saw a fantastic clearance on the line after Niall McGinn had cut it back for Sam Cosgrove to shoot from close range.
Credit to County for that, but they’ve now conceded seven times in two Premiership games.
Then McGinn put a similar pass from Greg Leigh over the bar, side-footed from 14 yards when he should’ve scored.
But Aberdeen looked dominant in the first half even before their two goals – Leigh’s header and Cosgrove’s penalty – camping in the visitors’ half at times and probing for scoring opportunities.
Leigh’s effort was perfectly placed out of the reach of the goalkeeper in the top corner.
And Cosgrove showed once again his ability from 12 yards.
Every time the big striker – now on 10 goals for the season and clearly filled with confidence – gets the chance to take a penalty, he scores.
The quality of his strike against County can’t be understated, given the height of Ross Laidlaw and the fact he dived the right way.
But Cosgrove’s penalty was so hard and well placed in the left bottom corner he had no chance.
When it gets to the second half, especially with them grabbing a third so quickly through Ryan Hedges, Aberdeen were never going to lose.
The Dons have continued to push and came close to extending their lead.
Things could feasibly have changed and become a little less comfortable had County scored from the spot after the break, but Billy McKay hit the post and they then struck the upright again.
To be fair to McKay, his penalty was also well taken and I’m sure everyone in the ground thought it was going in before it just drifted too far right.
County were enjoying a decent spell at this point – however, even if either effort had gone in, I still think Derek McInnes’ team would’ve had the composure to win the game.
For me, it’s Ryan Hedges and McGinn who make the difference.
When they’re firing on all cylinders it makes Aberdeen tick.
Hedges and McGinn are easily the Dons’ two most creative players.
They’ve been struggling of late and have both been left out – both course started on the bench in the 0-0 draw at Kilmarnock last week.
But this approach appears to have worked, because they were much more lively and bright on Saturday.
Some of Hedges’ twists and turns, including one in the corner while under pressure from Richard Foster, were difficult to live with for County.
They couldn’t pin him down.
McGinn is different. He’s more intelligent than pure pace and skill.
Defensively, I thought the Reds impressed as well, considering before the game we were talking about a crisis, with Shay Logan, Scott McKenna and Ash Taylor ruled out through injury. Michael Devlin, playing alongside Andy Considine, was composed and helped secure a clean sheet, while Zak Vyner filled in well at right-back.
You’ve got to be happy with that – if there’d been any more defensive injuries there was very little in the way of replacements on the bench.
Hopefully the Red Army feel better having seen a good performance, as opposed to the lacklustre showings of late.
What Aberdeen need to find after the international break is consistency. With creative players, that’s always difficult to guarantee.
But for now they’ll have gone home happy.